The fire in the Morwell open cut mine adjacent to the Hazelwood power station blanketed Morwell and the surrounding area in smoke and ash for six weeks in February and March 2014. In response to community concerns about the long-term health effects, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services commissioned the Hazelwood Health Study.
The video below provides a short overview of the study by one of the Principal Investigators, Professor Judi Walker. The video was prepared in early 2016 and outlines the work to be undertaken leading up to now.
The Hazelwood Health Study aims to identify potential health outcomes for people who were exposed to the smoke from the mine fire. These might include heart and lung disease, cancer, mental health problems. The study will also look at the effects on vulnerable groups such as infants and children, young people, and older people. The study aims are based upon the community consultations which took place in May 2014.
A series of research streams has been established in order to address each of the key research questions. An overview of the streams is available here and the locations that each covers is summarised here. A large team of researchers has been assembled to undertake each of the research streams. Details of the different partner organisations are provided here.
Given that the study is in response to community concerns, it is critical that there is strong engagement with the community and key stakeholders. A governance structure has been established which will ensure that community input is incorporated into the study’s operations at all levels.