Policy review of the impact of the Hazelwood mine fire on older people: Final report

Judi Walker, Matthew Carroll, Marita Chisholm

Research output: Book/ReportOther Report


This review explored the impact of the Hazelwood mine fire on older people living in the Morwell community in the context of policy-driven decisions made at the time. We were able to gain an understanding of older people’s experiences of the smoke event and the efforts put in place to support them using a mix of qualitative research methodologies. We combined the findings from focus groups held with local older people and community members and interviews with local decision-makers and representatives of services which supported older people during the smoke event, with reviews of relevant literature and various government policies. We are confident that our review will have important implications for policy development and program planning in relation to older people and disasters. We hope that this will result in best practice to improve preparations for and responding to a future disaster event.This report brings together a considerable body of knowledge from data gathered over 13 months from June 2015 to July 2016. The conclusions drawn were verified in a workshop with key respondents held in September 2016. A framework was derived from key issues arising from comprehensive reviews of the published literature on older people and disasters (Section 3) and relevant policy documents (Section 4), and a chronological overview of key events that took place during the mine fire event (Section 5). The framework consisted of four interlinked headings that provided insight into the impact the event had on older people at the time and beyond. The framework was used to interpret a thematic analysis of the extensive amount of qualitative data collected (Section 6). We brought this together by combining what we had heard in the focus groups and interviews with our analyses of relevant literature and various government policies and plans (Section 7).The key, verified conclusions of the impact of the Hazelwood mine fire on older people, in the context of future policy and planning, are summarised under four headings.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherMonash University
Commissioning bodyDepartment of Health (DH) (Victoria)
Number of pages80
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2016

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