A LARGE number of Sale adults will soon be asked to contribute to the Hazelwood health study, which is looking at the long-term health effects of the Hazelwood Mine Fire.
While Sale was minimally exposed to smoke from the 2014 mine fire, compared with Morwell, Sale has been selected as a ‘comparison’ town to help the study’s researchers develop a detailed understanding of health pathways in Gippsland.
All adults who lived in Morwell at the time of the mine fire will be asked, over coming weeks, to participate in an adult survey, which is one of the most significant stages of the Hazelwood health study.
Soon after, adults from selected parts of Sale will also receive invitations and information packs, asking them to participate in the survey.
The large scale Monash University-led Hazelwood health study was established in response to community concerns about health impacts of exposure to the smoke during the mine fire during February 2014.
Principal co-investigator of the study, Professor Judi Walker has urged all eligible adults in Morwell and the selected parts of Sale to participate in the adult survey.
She said the participation of Sale adults would be “vital to future health planning for the region.”
“The study’s success depends on as many people as possible completing the survey, whether they are older, younger, well or unwell,” she said.
The internationally-renowned health research team led by Professor Michael Abramson is already working locally on the multi-stream study, targeting babies and toddlers, school aged children, older adults and community wellbeing.
Professor Abramson said the adult survey, the final stream to roll-out, was the largest and most complex part of the study.
“The higher the participation rate of this survey, the better the outcome for the community will be,” he said.
“This really is the most effective way for the community to take ownership of the study and be part of the research.”
Those who choose to participate will be able to complete the questionnaire, expected to take about 30 minutes, over the phone or online. Participants will be compensated for their time with a $20 local gift voucher.
Professor Walker said information gathered from the adult survey would provide a solid evidence base for future health policy and planning across all of Gippsland.
The Hazelwood Health Study team will be at local community events during the next six months to explain the adult survey.
Information will continue to be provided in the local media and on the study website at hazelwoodhealthstudy.org.au.