Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry Report 2015/2016 Volume lll – Health Improvement (Inquiry Report III) was tabled in the Parliament of Victoria in February 2016. This report includes Recommendation 9, relating to the Ash residue in Morwell roof cavities project. The Victorian Premier and Minister for Health announced that the Government had accepted all recommendations from Inquiry Report III, including the testing and analysis of ash residue in roof cavities, on 15 April 2016.
In May 2016, the 2016-17 Budget allocated funding to support the implementation of the recommendations in Inquiry Report III (including Recommendation 9). Planning was underway to implement the project in June 2016, including the development of a dedicated website and generic email address to facilitate the recruitment of houses for testing, and engagement of an independent expert.
The procurement process to engage an independent expert closed on 22 July 2016. The successful independent expert (Senversa) was engaged via a DHHS contract in August 2016. Contracts are published on www.tenders.vic.gov.au.
Community forums were held in Morwell in September 2016. Senversa also developed the Sampling and Analytical Quality Plan (that was made publicly available via the department’s website) that sets out how houses were selected for testing and began collecting samples in Morwell. Senversa finished collecting samples from all of the 50 selected houses in Morwell in October 2016.
Senversa began collecting samples from the control site in Rosedale in late-November 2016. Samples from Morwell were tested via Victorian laboratories.
In December 2016, Senversa provided preliminary results of the testing for Morwell houses. The preliminary results for Morwell were provided at this time to account for a slower than anticipated recruitment of houses in Rosedale. Sampling was completed in Rosedale in December 2016 and those samples were tested. Senversa analysed and compared the results.
Community forums were held in Morwell to discuss the final results and possible next steps in January 2017. Senversa also carried out individual visits with people whose houses were tested to discuss the results and provided a report to each household that was involved. The individual visits were completed in February 2017.
The project team shared the results of sampling with the Executive Board of the Latrobe Health Assembly in early March 2017. The Board recommended a peer-review of Senversa’s draft final report. This work was undertaken by CDM Smith Australia Pty Ltd in March.
In April 2017, Senversa revised the draft final report in response to the peer review. The department started working on a community report that made the information in the final, technical report easier to understand. The department consulted with members of the community to make sure the community report was clear, concise and easy to understand.
Senversa’s final report and the community report were released in June 2017.