Public hearing cancelled over COVID-19 concerns

February 18, 2021 BY

Discovery 3227 have been investigating a possible cancer cluster in Barwon Heads for two years. Map: ROSS HARRISON

THE inquiry into a possible cancer cluster has again hit a road bump with the February 10 public hearing cancelled.

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee called the hearing to allow members of the community to tell their story as the investigations into a possible cancer cluster on the Bellarine continued.

Earlier this month the committee confirmed the event would be postponed for the foreseeable future citing COVID-19 as the cause.

In an official release the committee said, “due to the evolving COVID-19 concerns in Victoria this week, the committee has made the decision to cancel this public hearing, which was to be held at Barwon Heads.”

Committee chair, Senator Rachel Siewert, said the cancellation was unfortunate however it was their top priority to ensure the safety of all those concerned.

“The committee remains determined to visit the Bellarine Peninsula to hear directly from people in the community about their concerns,” she said.

The hearing was to call forward those directly impacted by a range of different cancers and autoimmune diseases allegedly brought on by the spraying of carcinogenic chemicals used by the city for mosquito prevention in the mid-1980s to 2012.

Ross Harrison, founder of Discovery 3227, the investigative body that raised the alarm on a possible cancer cluster, said community members would continue to wait for their chance to speak.

“From most of the community that I have spoken to, they are very patient,” he said.

“They have waited years to tell their story and are looking forward to making sure the senators are aware of the tragedy that has happened here.”

“Our group, Discovery 3227, will wait as long as it takes to have this public hearing, our community wants to be heard and we will be.”

A date has not been scheduled for the public hearing when the Times went to print.

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