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Qld Health Department turns its back on Western Downs residents: health impacts ignored

Statements on radio this morning from Queensland's Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg, that almost no residents from the Tara-Chinchilla area are presenting to medicos with complaints related to air pollution are simply wrong.

A round-up this morning by the Lock the Gate Alliance has found at least 30 people have presented in recent times at either Tara Medical Centre, Tara Hospital, Toowoomba Hospital or at hospitals in Brisbane with such symptoms as chronic headaches, nausea, nose bleeds, skin rashes and vomiting.

Many families report headaches, skin rashes and nosebleeds but won't report due to the belief nobody will do anything about it.

Tara Hospital does not have a doctor during the day and so most have to attend the Tara Medical Centre when they can get appointment.

Many who are on waiting list to see specialists don't bother going back to doctors for the same problem as the doctors can't work out what the problem is.

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, called on Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg, to send health professionals to the area to interview people reporting these symptoms.

"We know the coal seam gas company QGC is doing air and soil monitoring in response to these complaints but local people have no trust in them," Mr Hutton said.

"Most importantly, the government needs to be talking to the local people affected.

"It is not good enough for health bureaucrats in Brisbane to sit in their offices in Brisbane telling the people on the Western Downs that they are not reporting to doctors about their condition when they are and also telling them, from afar, that they are suffering from the flu.

"The Tara-Chinchilla area has been identified as the first that will experience draw-downs in the water table from coal seam gas activities and so it is logical to deduce the people of this area will be the first to feel the impacts.

"However, every other area where there will be intensive coal seam gas activity needs to ask if they are likely to suffer the same health impacts as the people on the Western Downs."

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