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That’s not a hotline

The State Government’s so-called health hotline for residents of Port Augusta engulfed by fly ash pollution is a sham according to the State Liberals.

“Callers to the hotline (08 8226 7100) yesterday got a paging service with an invitation to leave their number so someone could get back to them during office hours, unless it was urgent,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

“With Port Augusta again suffering high winds on Saturday and reports on Sunday of the possibility of asbestos in the fly ash cloud, the Port Augusta community needed the hotline they were promised, not a call back service.

“The Government said it was providing a hotline – hotlines deal with concerns as they arise, they don’t ask people to wait for up to three days for a call back."

The State Liberals have demanded that Premier Jay Weatherill step in and take control of the response to the crisis.

“Once again the people of Port Augusta are at the end of very shabby treatment from the Weatherill Government," Mr Wade said.

“The concerns about asbestos in the fly ash follow revelations that Adelaide Brighton Cement have strict controls in place regarding the use of fly ash to protect its workers and local community from the health threat the substance poses.

“Adelaide Brighton Cement are in the business of using fly ash in the production of cement and its concerns about the health implications cannot be ignored by the Weatherill Government.

“This is a public health crisis and the Weatherill Government needs to take the lead on containing the dust to protect the people of Port Augusta.

“A dedicated task force under the direction of the Premier needs to be establish to minimise the health risk that fly ash poses to the people of Port Augusta.

“The disinterested attitude of the Weatherill Government to the public health threat to the people of Port Augusta is totally unacceptable.”