Study Timeline

The study has research streams targeted different groups and conditions. These streams will be rolled out at different times. A summary of the stream areas and the expected start dates is provided below.

Research streams:

Community Wellbeing

In the period 2015-2017 the Community Wellbeing Stream undertook extensive data collection comprising interviews (individual interviews and focus group discussions) with a total of 85 people, and analysis of 1,096 media reports and 1,709 social media posts. Two substantive volumes of findings have been presented, the first of which is available on the Study Reports page. The participatory action research phase of the Stream’s year 3 activities culminated in a photographic exhibition “Our Hopes for the Future of Morwell”. This display of 28 images of objects that symbolised community hopes for the future of Morwell, has been exhibited at the Switchback Gallery at Federation University, Churchill (November 2017, Queen’s Hall, State Parliament (May 2018), MidValley Shopping Centre (December 2018) and at the 2019 Ballarat International Foto Biennale (October 2019).

The Latrobe ELF Study

More than 500 eligible infants and their parents, from across the Latrobe Valley, were enrolled in the Latrobe ELF Study between 2015 and 2016. Initially, parents completed a health survey in regard to their children’s health and a time location diary from which to estimate mine fire smoke exposure. Since the initial survey, many parents have continued to provide monthly symptom diaries in regard to their children’s health. In 2017 more than 200 infants undertook vascular testing and more than 100 underwent lung function testing. A number of reports, research summaries and publications describing findings are available on the Study Findings page. In 2020 a second round of vascular and lung function testing will be undertaken, this time including children who were too young for these tests in 2017.

Older People

Focus group discussions with community members along with interviews with key stakeholders were completed in 2016. A brief summary of the findings and a more detailed report were provided in early 2017. These documents are available on the Study Findings page.

Psychological Impacts

Schools Study: Data collection from students in 22 participating schools across the Latrobe Valley was undertaken in 2015 and 2018. Several reports and publications arising from this research can be found on the Study Findings page.

Adult Psychological Impacts: Follow up data collection from a number of Adult Survey participants is planned for late 2020 and early 2021.

Adult Survey

Recruitment into the Adult Survey took place between May 2016 and February 2017, with approximately 4000 people participating. Two technical reports describing findings, Adult Survey Volumes 1 and 2 have been released are available on the Study Findings page. A large number of Adult Survey participants have since participated in follow up testing as part of the Respiratory Stream and Cardiovascular Stream.

Respiratory Stream

The Respiratory Stream undertook follow up clinical testing on 519 Adult Survey participants between August 2017 and March 2018. Findings in relation to smoke exposure and asthma in this group can be found on the Fact Sheets and Summaries page. Further follow up testing of this group is planned for late 2020.

Cardiovascular Stream

The Cardiovascular Stream undertook follow up clinical testing on 498 Adult Survey participants between October 2017 and May 2018. Findings in relation to smoke exposure, blood pressure (hypertension) and heart health in this group can be found on the Fact Sheets and Summaries page.

Air quality assessmentThe air quality team at the CSIRO have been working to understand the where the smoke travelled to during the event. Preliminary information has been released on the spread of the smoke and on the air quality measurements taken during the period. This information is available on the Fact Sheets and Summaries page.
Hazelinks: health records data from administrative databases including hospital, ambulance and cancer

Throughout the period 2015-2019, the Hazelinks Stream has obtained data which have assisted in describing ambulance callouts, hospital emergency department presentations and hospital admissions, health service use, pharmaceutical/medication use, background (pre-mine fire) cancer rates and post mine fire death rates in the local region A number of reports, research summaries and publications describing findings are available on the Study Findings page. It is anticipated that Hazelinks will continue to obtain updated data from these sources until at least 2023.