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It’s taken almost two years, but finally, the people of the Latrobe Valley have had their fears confirmed. The Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry has released a report confirming that an increase in deaths did occur around the time of the fire, and that a likely cause is the air pollution released by the mine fire.

It’s taken almost two years, but finally, the people of the Latrobe Valley have had their fears confirmed. The Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry has released a report confirming that an increase in deaths did occur around the time of the fire, and that a likely cause is the air pollution released by the mine fire.

The report also found that the Victorian Department of Health made premature findings that this had not occurred. Latrobe Valley residents formed a community group, Voices of the Valley, in response to the fire. This group spent more than 1,000 hours combing through death notices to prove their hunch that the fire had caused deaths. But, the report says, when residents voiced their fears and presented their research, the Department of Health acted defensive and failed to address their concerns.

Environmental Justice Australia has represented Voices of the Valley throughout this process. We did this because we believe air pollution is a social justice issue. All Victorians get the electricity produced by the coal fired power stations of the Latrobe Valley, but only local residents suffered the health effects of the toxic pollution emitted when the mine caught fire.