Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Bushfire Response Kim Wells is encouraging those residents in Morwell and surrounding areas choosing to take a break from the smoke and ash to register their intended location details with the Red Cross.
“While firefighters continue to make good progress in reducing the fire activity in the Hazelwood mine, the local community of Morwell and surrounding areas are continuing to experience extended periods of smoke and ash,” Mr Wells said.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is urging anyone who chooses to take a break and leave the area to notify Red Cross of their intended location.
“The Red Cross Register.Find.Reunite. service has been activated today to help the community let family and friends know where they have gone, if they decide to take a break away from Morwell.
“If you plan to leave Morwell overnight, or for a longer period, please consider registering online at www.redcross.org.au or by calling 1800 727 077.
“Some people will have their own independent means of transport and a place to visit beyond the smoke – perhaps by visiting families or friends outside Morwell.
“Victoria Police will ensure an increased level of surveillance patrols across the Morwell area to provide some reassurance to those who choose to leave their homes to take a break that their neighbourhoods are under close watch.”
Morewell residents can also visit the community respite centre in the Moe Town Hall, Albert Street, Moe.
The centre is open from 9am-6pm 6pm daily, and offers a relaxed air-conditioned space where residents can take a break and information on government services and general health information.
The centre offers support and information from:
Latrobe City Council;
Department of Human Services;
Ambulance Victoria (representing Department of Health);
Victorian Council of Churches; and
Save the Children.
“If possible, Morwell residents should try to take a regular breaks away from the smoke and ash – even for a few hours each day,” Mr Wells said.
Mr Wells said the Coalition Government continues to work with authorities to ensure the best available advice and assistance is being provided to the local community while the smoke conditions continue, with the Respite Centre and Health Assessment Centre available to local residents.
If you want to visit the centre but have a mobility issue, you could be eligible for free transport from Latrobe City Council. Check by calling the Department of Human Services on 1800 006 468.
Depending on your circumstances, you could also be eligible for further support, including some financial assistance from the Victorian Government to help you get away from the smoke for a while.
Media contact: Jess Jackson 0437 422 048