• 19 AUG 08
    • 0

    #934: Opposition calls for an investigation of possible school cancer cluster

    Just when the Tasmanian government thought it had ‘covered all the bases’ in suppressing the Hazelwood School EMF/cancer controversy the state Opposition’s Minister for Education has called for an investigation into the possible cancer cluster.

    Press release:

    Sue Napier MP
    Shadow Minister for Education
    Sunday August 17, 2008

    Need to examine health history of staff at Hazelwood School

    Although the State Opposition is satisfied that the recent changes to the electrical circuit system at Hazelwood School have ensured a safe working environment, it is still concerned that not enough has been done to fully investigate whether the history of instances of cancer experienced by staff over the last ten years is related to previous magnetic field levels.

    Shadow Minister for Education, Sue Napier, said that when she raised this issue, both with the Education Department and during the Public Works Committee hearings in March this year, she was only aware of three cases of staff being diagnosed with cancer in two years.

    “I am now informed that there have been 17 cases of staff diagnosed with cancer over 10 years. Given that the school only has 14-15 staff working there, I would have thought that this should have been looked at too,” Mrs Napier said.

    “The Committee was not informed that there had been extensive electrical work done at the school in February 2008, prior to our hearings in March. Nor were we told that the report which cleared concerns over the existence of a substation under the school was based on readings done after this work.”

    Mrs Napier said that the State Opposition would like this historical pattern of staff illness to be assessed by an appropriate health body such as the Menzies Centre who could look at whether the pattern was abnormal.

    “We are also concerned that the Education Department appeared to have waited until this issue broke publicly through the media to brief staff and parents, when clearly these concerns have been there for a long time,” Mrs Napier said.

    “Given that I only became aware of the problem through an anonymous letter, it would seem that some people at least feel that they are being pressured not to rock the boat, silencing very genuine concerns over the poor health history of staff.”

    For further information or comment please call Kristy Mays “” 0407 503 910

    Kristy Mays LLB (Hons)
    Office of the Tasmanian Leader of the Opposition
    Will Hodgman MP
    Parliament House
    Hobart TAS 7000
    Phone: (03) 62338715
    Fax: (03) 62332779
    Mobile: 0407 503 910

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