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Labor and Coalition join to block Hunter coal health inquiry

Despite noises of concern from federal MPs in the Hunter about the adverse health impacts of polluting coal dust, Labor and the Coalition joined forces in the Senate today to vote down a motion to establish a Senate Inquiry into the health impacts of coal mining, coal transport and coal export in the Hunter.

"Hunter residents will be disappointed that today in the Senate, Labor voted against setting up an inquiry into health impacts of coal dust on Hunter residents," said Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon.

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Greens call for covered coal train wagons in Illawarra, enhanced air quality standards

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and Wollongong Councillor Jill Merrin met today with locals and the Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining group at Bellambi station to call for national air quality standards that properly incorporate fine particles to better monitor air quality and its impacts on the health of local residents impacted by coal dust from uncovered coal train wagons.

"There is too little protection for communities up and down coal train line from the health hazards of PM2.5 and even finer coal dust pollution," Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon said.

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PM coal dust concerns lends weight to mining - health inquiry call

Welcoming Prime Minister Julia Gillard's call for more scientific investigation of the impact of coal dust on the health of Hunter communities, Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said the next step should be federal government support for the long running community and Greens' campaign for a parliamentary investigation into this very issue.

"A parliamentary inquiry into the impact of coal dust on the health and well being of Hunter communities is long overdue," Senator Rhiannon said.

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Senate supports private midwives

The Senate today passed a motion calling for immediate action on the obstacles facing privately practicing midwives in Australia.

"The government set aside $120 million in 2010 for midwives in private practice to access Medicare and the PBS, but hardly any have been able to do so," said Dr Richard Di Natale, the Greens Spokesperson on Health. "Because they can't get visiting access rights, they can't be by their patients if they get admitted to public hospitals."

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Motion: Senate supports private midwives

Motions, Thursday 10 May 2012

Senator DI NATALE (Victoria) (12:13): I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 743 standing in my name and in the name of Senator Rhiannon. I also indicate that I will be adding the name of Senator Pratt to the motion.

Leave granted.

Senator DI NATALE: I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

   (a)    notes that:

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Greens secure dental funding boost for NSW - lowest spending state in Australia

Lee Rhiannon 6 May 2012

Australian Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon says NSW, which spends less on public dental services than any other state or territory, will reap the benefits of a package of measures worth over half a billion dollars to overhaul of Australia's dental system secured by the Greens in next week's budget.

"NSW has always been the poor cousin of a nation of very poor cousins when it comes to dental care services, particularly rural and regional NSW," Senator Rhiannon said.

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