Community connects with study

Members of a community advisory committee for the long-term health study into the effects of the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire have been announced including Morwell Neighbourhood House coordinator Tracie Lund, teacher Andrew Wood and community science educator Carolyne Boothman.

They were appointed after responding to a public call for expressions of interest and have been selected as individuals, rather than representing particular community groups.

Monash University professor and local lead on the study Judi Walker said investigators had the difficult task of selecting committee members on the basis of experience, connection to the community, and ensuring reasonable gender and age balance in the CAC overall.

Other members of the committee representing health and service providers include Latrobe City mayor Dale Harriman, Federation University professor Wendy Wright, Latrobe Community Health Service board chair John Guy, Latrobe Regional Hospital board chair Kellie O’Callaghan and Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, or their representative.

Professor Walker said the purpose of the committee was to ensure the study heard from, and worked in partnership, with the community and key local stakeholder organisations.

“The first meeting of the committee was held at the end of February, and provided an introductory overview of the study plans,” she said.

“It was great to get this first meeting underway but the real conversations with the community start now. It is important that the study remains rooted in the concerns of the local community and closely connected to the local health and service agencies that support our community.”

As part of the study, a series of meetings are underway with key groups in the area and a community briefing is being planned.

The study team welcomes invitations to address community groups and organisations that wish to know more.

Professor Walker said one of the first tasks of the committee would be to comment on a draft survey.

Specific questions or comments about the study, or groups keen to hear from the research team, should phone the study office on 5122 7252 or email

More information about the study and upcoming activities can also be found at