Health study targets final Morwell patch for survey

THE Hazelwood Health Study will this week send Adult Survey invitations to 1750 eligible residents in the last area of Morwell to be targeted by the large-scale activity.

This brings the total number of invitations to about 9000.

In the coming month, the study team will also widely distribute paper surveys across a range of public venues in the town in an effort to boost participation.

So far about one quarter of eligible residents invited to participate in the survey have chosen to do so.

The survey is the largest component of the Monash-led health study which looks at the potential long-term health impacts of the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire. 

Over past weeks the study team has hosted community events at Mid Valley Shopping Centre and Tribes Playcentre to answer questions about the study and help people complete the survey ‘on the spot’. 

Study investigator Professor Judi Walker said the response from community members to those events was encouraging.

“However, it remains critical that as many other eligible adults in Morwell as possible take the opportunity to complete the survey before the year’s end,” Professor Walker said.

Anyone who lived in Morwell at the time of the mine fire, even if they were away at the time or have moved away since - is eligible to participate. 

This week, invitation packs will be sent to residents living in an area bound by Princes Drive and west of McDonald Street, including Latrobe and Holmes roads and their surrounding streets.

Professor Walker said anyone who lived in Morwell during the mine fire who has not received an invitation pack by the end of this week - including those who have asked for their names not be included on the public electoral roll - should phone the study team on 1800 985 899 (toll free) or collect a paper survey from the Morwell library or Latrobe City Council once they are available.

Within the next month, eligible adults will also be able to collect surveys from venues including health and medical clinics and the Morwell Newspower Centre in Commercial Road, Morwell.

Professor Walker acknowledged the strong support of Morwell Newspower proprietor, Ray Burgess - and his staff - who have facilitated the distribution of $20 Latrobe City gift cards (redeemable at around 85 local businesses) to those who have completed the survey, and forwarded community enquiries onto the study team. 

She said residents who may have chosen not to complete the survey were free to change their mind at any point this year.

They can ‘opt back in’ by following the instructions on their invitation pack, phoning 1800 985 899 (toll free) or for more information visit hazewloodhealthystudy.org.au/research-areas/adult-survey/adult-survey-faqs

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