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Crozier - Lack of air quality monitoring and distribution of protective equipment

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Lack of air quality monitoring and distribution of protective equipment

The devastating bushfires that have affected Victorian communities in Gippsland and the North East are also having a major impact on air quality across the state.

But monitoring across the state is limited with many communities in a monitoring black spot with no accurate information.

The lack of reliable monitoring by the EPA in places like Wodonga, Mallacoota and parts of the North East has been raised by members of the community as to the extent of toxic air particles and quality of air within the region.

The closest monitoring station to Mallacoota is around 180 kilometres away, Wodonga is about 60 kilometres from the closest station. Most Melbourne based stations are around 10 kilometres from one another.

The Chief Health Officer has issued advice and warnings to many Victorians with respiratory disease, a range of medical conditions, to pregnant women, the elderly and young children.

The Federal Government provided Victoria with 450,000 P2 masks (face masks) to provide some degree of protection for thousands of Victorians but have not yet been distributed to many communities.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Georgie Crozier:

“The EPA needs to send out mobile air quality stations to a number of affected areas to provide the community with up-to-date and accurate information.

“We also hope that the State Government can get these P2 masks to the communities who need them most as soon as possible.”

Comments attributable to Member for Benambra, Bill Tilley:

“My community has been devastated by these fires which are set to continue this week. The air is thick with smoke and has been for days. 

“Now that the State Government has had these masks since the weekend, it’s no good to people in my community if they are sitting in Melbourne.”