Napthine opens door to Morwell smoke victims

PREMIER Denis Napthine has offered his Port Fairy home as a refuge for Morwell residents fleeing smoke and ash caused by the Hazelwood coalmine fire.

The South West Coast MP yesterday told radio station 3AW he would happily open the doors of his Port Fairy home to a family from the affected area.

“I’d be happy to have a family come down to Port Fairy for a week if they wanted,” Dr Napthine said.

“I’ll probably be at Parliament.”

The offers comes on the back of the Premier’s announcement on Wednesday that the government was establishing a way for Victorians to offer holiday houses and homes to Morwell residents who needed to escape smoke.

“What we’re calling on is perhaps people who have a holiday house in the Gippsland area, perhaps at Lakes Entrance, on the Gippsland lakes or in the hills or down at Foster ... to perhaps make that available to people so we can have a genuine community response across Victoria to help families in Morwell,” Dr Napthine said.

The town has been cloaked with smoke and ash since a fire spread to the Hazelwood open cut coalmine on February 9.

Residents have been encouraged to leave Morwell for a “respite break” in nearby towns, but the situation is still being treated as short-term and an emergency evacuation for Morwell’s 13,000 residents has not been declared.

Morwell is about 430km 

The Morwell Open Cut Mine fire continues to burn. Picture: THE AGE

The Morwell Open Cut Mine fire continues to burn. Picture: THE AGE


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