Let me preface this with the fact that the Gippsland regional town of Morwell in our state does not enjoy the highest of socio economic status.
Nevertheless, they are citizens of Victoria in Australia, and Australia does have poor people. We need to look after them. With the stereo typical Morwell resident in mind, rather not live next door to them though, hey.
For weeks now they have suffered from an open cut coal mine fire burning very near to their town. The emanating smoke is horrendous. As well as causing breathing and other problems, it dumps an oily ash over everything outside and infiltrates houses. Houses in the Latrobe Valley, where Morwell is, used to be full of coal dust, centimetres high in ceilings.
If you lived in the Latrobe Valley, your life expectancy was low, and it still is. I can fairly say that this fire will not help their life expectancy.
I am in a mind to think there is some truth to the suggestion that this fire would have been quickly put out should the open cut coal pit stayed within government hands. A well maintained fire protection system may well have prevented the fire from starting, as has also been suggested. Once again, blame the evil former Premier Kennett, for the privatisation of the generation of our electricity.
Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley tells us the fire will be out in about two weeks. I think his position rather depends on that.