Coal Health Study Blog


Proposed Hunter Valley Edition, Coal Health Study

The Coal Health Study blog is hoping to perform a Hunter Valley Edition of the Coal Health Study, using publicly available health data for the region.

Coal Mine Concerns in NSW Australia
Coal mines in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales (NSW), Australia form part of the supply chain for “the world’s largest coal export operation”, according to the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Logistics Team website.

Australian Greens MP Lee Rhiannon has been calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the health impacts of coal mining and power station emissions, as reported mid-August 2009. Rhiannon is quoted as saying “the government is making millions from the Upper Hunter coal industry, giving the go ahead to one of the biggest industry expansions in NSW’s history.”

Last week, the Australian government announced that it had made a deal with coal and power industries for a regionally co-ordinated air quality monitoring network, to be managed by Macquarie Street.

As reported in The Herald, Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said “It isn’t enough to just monitor; they need to investigate and prosecute offences”, and “the Government should instead reopen the Environment Protection Authority office at Muswellbrook.” The Herald article also noted that “Mr Rhiannon said the Government needed to also fund research into the health impact of coalmining.”

The following quote from a recent Coal Mining news article sums up the Greens position:

The Greens are concerned that the new Air Quality Monitoring Network is simply window dressing, designed to deflect community concern about the adverse impacts of coal mining on local’s health.

The Greens are calling for the Air Quality Monitoring Network Memorandum of Understanding to be released so the local community can scrutinise the arrangement

Local NSW Doctor Undertakes Independent Study
As reported in this Singleton Argus article, Dr. Tuan Au of Singleton will be conducting his own study into the health impacts that air pollution is having on local residents.
Dr. Tuan Au is disturbed by the “high number of children that attend general practices in town presenting symptoms of asthma and other respiratory problems”.

Dr. Au is located in Singleton, which the Coal Industry Centre refers to as “the heart of the Hunter Valley coalfields region of NSW Australia.”

Hunter Valley Edition, Coal Health Study
In conjunction with community groups and in support of doctor Au’s study, which he estimates will take approximately 5 years to complete, the Coal Health Study blog is hoping to perform a Hunter Valley Edition of the Coal Health Study, using publicly available health data for the region, to the extent that they exist and are sufficient.

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