The Emergency Management Act 1986 sets up arrangements to provide for the management and organisation of the prevention, response and recovery phases of emergencies, involving all relevant government and non-government agencies.
The Act defines emergency broadly, as the actual or imminent occurrence of an event that endangers the safety or health of persons, or which destroys, damages or threatens property or endangers or threatens the environment in Victoria. Victoria's arrangements are, accordingly, operative for any relevant incident.
Hazelwood Power station has a coal-mine fire expelling toxic smoke over a Morwell and surrounding areas within the Latrobe Valley. This should be declared a state of emergency.
Serious concerns over the air quality in Morwell and high levels of carbon monoxide in the smoke pouring from the blaze in the Hazelwood open-cut mine started nearly four weeks ago.
The first responsibility of a government is to protect its people and that is not happening.