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 study is led by independent researchers from Monash University in collaboration with Federation University, University of Tasmania, University of Adelaide, and the CSIRO.
The Hazelwood Health Study aims to identify potential health outcomes for people who may have been impacted by the smoke from the mine fire. These might include heart and lung disease, cancer or mental health problems. It will also look at the effects on vulnerable groups such as infants and children, young people, and older people.
The website has been set up to keep the local communities and other interested people up to date on the progress of the study.
The study involves multiple research streams targeting different health outcomes and groups. Many people in the local area have already participated in one or more of these activities. They would have heard about opportunities to participate via local campaigns in the newspaper and radio, through community groups or by being directly approached by mail.
All research streams have now completed at least one round of data collection. Many findings have been released and more will be forthcoming. More information on the study timeline is available here and details of all findings released to date are available here.
To investigate the longer-term impact of the mine fire, existing participants may be invited to undertake follow up health assessments, asked to complete further surveys, or be invited to talk further about their experience during the mine fire event and since. This work is expected to continue for several years. At this point there is only limited opportunity for new participants to be recruited. However it is important to understand that the study finidings relate to all people who were exposed to the mine fire, not just the people who participated in the data collection.