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Greens call for Morwell fire to be declared a state of emergency

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 23 Feb 2014

Victorian Greens Leader, Greg Barber, joined Australian Greens health spokesperson, Dr Richard Di Natale, this morning in Melbourne to call for the Morwell fire to be declared a state of emergency.

“The first responsibility of a government is to protect its people and that is not happening in Morwell,” said Mr Barber.

“The Napthine Government must cut through the bureaucratic infighting and take action to protect people. Lives are at risk.

“A state of emergency must be declared under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act. We cannot afford to fiddle while Rome burns.”

Dr Richard Di Natale, is a former GP and public health specialist who referred a Senate inquiry into the health impacts of air quality which focused on particulate matter produced by coal mining and combustion.

“There is no safe level of exposure to particulate matter from coal combustion,” said Dr Di Natale.

“Morwell residents are being exposed to worrying levels of smoke containing particulate matter, carbon monoxide and other harmful substances. These can have serious acute health impacts such as exacerbating asthma and increasing the risk of heart attack, while long term exposure can increase the risk of conditions such as lung cancer.

“I am concerned that the Morwell community is not getting a frank assessment of the health risks they are facing.”

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