Newcastle has been confirmed as the first site for public hearings in the Greens-initiated Senate Inquiry into Air Pollution, scheduled next Tuesday 16 April. The Greens will host a public meeting on the eve of the Senate hearings at Newcastle Town Hall.
"Securing a Senate hearing in Newcastle is a win for the local campaign and a testament to the flood of submissions sent into the Inquiry from people concerned about the health impacts of coal dust in the Hunter", said Greens Senator Lee Rhianon.
"I am hopeful this inquiry will shine a national light on the dust burden borne by people in the Hunter and will force bipartisan support for strong regulations that protect public health and stand up to big coal.
"The Senate Inquiry received an impressive number of submissions from Newcastle and the Hunter, including submissions from local councils, community organisations, academics and hand-written letters from residents grappling with coal dust on a daily basis.
"Unfortunately the Hunter has become a national hotspot for the cumulative impact of dust from coal mines, coal transport and coal-fired power.
"Current regulations are not up to the task of protecting communities against fine and ultrafine dust particles", said Senator Rhiannon.
The Senate Inquiry into the health impacts of air pollution was initiated by Greens Senator and health spokesperson Richard DiNatale. More information about the inquiry, a link to submissions and the schedule for Newcastle's public hearing is here. Lee's interview with ABC Radio Newcastle here.