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http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au/?q=node/1310

Prime Minister Abbott needs to visit Morwell

MEDIA RELEASE – 28 Feb 2014

Environment group urges Prime Minister to visit Hazelwood crisis

Environment group Friends of the Earth Australia has called on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to visit Morwell where a public health emergency is unfolding from a coalmine fire.

“Premier Denis Napthine has been slow to act, putting Morwell residents at risk from serious health impacts,” said Leigh Ewbank of Friends of the Earth.

“It’s time for the Prime Minister to visit the region and provide Commonwealth support for the community.”

Morwell residents have been urged to leave town or face serious health impacts from the Hazelwood coalmine fire which has been burning for almost three weeks.

A Morwell primary school has been evacuated due to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and particulate matter in the air. Authorities have drawn up plans to evacuate 10,000 Morwell residents.

“Failure to visit Morwell will reflect poorly on the Prime Minister who has a reputation as a man of action,” said Mr Ewbank.

The Prime Minister put himself in the line of fire in last October, joining firefighters for back burning near the Blue Mountains. Earlier this week the Prime Minister was visiting drought-affected farmers in Queensland and NSW.

The Abbott government appears to have double standards when it comes to energy.

“If the Prime Minister ignores the crisis at Hazelwood it will confirm the suspicion that this government puts ideology ahead of good policy,” said Mr Ewbank. “That it favours fossil fuels over clean renewable energy.”

Despite the obvious health consequences from coal pollution, the Abbott government has ordered yet another investigation into wind energy and human health.
A review by Australia’s peak medical body–the National Health and Medical Research Council–released this week, found wind energy to be clean and safe.

Government politicians have been reported saying the Renewable Energy Target review is “cover” to “kill the RET.”

Further comment: Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth,  0419 338 047

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