Community ‘deserves an investigation’

A PETITION calling for an investigation into the long-term health impacts of the Hazelwood mine fire on Latrobe Valley residents has been circulated by a Morwell community service provider.

Morwell Neighbourhood House coordinator Tracie Lund said residents had been concerned about how and if the exposure to smoke, ash, PM2.5 particles and other toxins would affect them into the future.

“An inquiry into the long term health impacts will let Morwell residents have the information they need on the possible health impacts of this crisis,” Ms Lund said.

“This will help them in moving forward and preparing for their futures.”

Ms Lund said she headed the petition because Victorian Chief Health Officer Rosemary Lester had said she was considering a study, but wanted to ensure residents gave “full consent” before going ahead.

“She said we would need to be on board, but she gave no indication as to how she would find out,” Ms Lund said.

“We feel this (petition) will give the community a choice to say if they want an investigation.”

Ms Lund said an investigation was important because despite being advised by State Government there would be no long term health effects, most residents she spoke with did not believe this.

“Without an inquiry Morwell residents have no way of knowing what the long-term health impacts will be for them personally or on their community,” Ms Lund said.

“Morwell residents have suffered enough, they deserve an inquiry.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said the department was still considering whether it would proceed with a study.

The petition can be found at and a hardcopy will be available to sign in some Morwell stores and at the house on Beattie Cresent.