The fire at Morwell

Don’t get me wrong – I think it would be pretty terrible to be living in Morwell at the moment.

But the ABC, in particular, has gone crazy with lunatic analysis which is a combination of:

  • anti-fossil fuels (if we relied on wind farms for our power this would never happen);
  • anti-privatization (if the SECV hadn’t been sold, this would never have happened – sure);
  • anti-capitalist (what, a private company running a coal mine and electricity generator?, even if it is French – GDF Suez).

And if someone lights a fire on a farm, do we expect the farmer to pay for the fire to be extinguished?  Of course, the farmer will do everything he can – let’s face it, there aren’t too many famale farmers – to help put it out.  But does anyone think they should be sent the bill?

The ABC, particularly courtesy Jon Faine, seems to think that GDF Suez should be sent the bill, even though we know that it was firebug who started the fire.

And then there is the deliberate misinformation, including dredging up some guy who was in charge of fire prevention with the SECV at Hazelwood in 1977.  Are they kidding?

But here is the statement by the company:

 Did GDF SUEZ Hazelwood scrap pipes and other firefighting equipment that had been on the disused area of the mine? No, that is completely untrue. The area to where the external bushfire first spotted has not been an operational part of the mine for at least 30 years. It is understood that de-commissioned pipelines (that is, pipelines that could not be used) were removed from this area some 27 years ago when the mine was operated by the former State Electricity Commission of Victoria, long before the mine and power station were sold as part of the Victorian electricity industry privatisation program.

In fact, the company has put out a number of statements in relation to the fire which are useful in terms of providing information about what is going on and what is being done.

The comprehensive fire management policy of the company has not only been detailed and implemented but has also been externally audited by the relevant authorities.

The ABC reports none of this and runs with the line that the company is hiding information and refuses to give out details.  THIS IS NOT TRUE.

Whether representatives of the company have been prepared to speak to the ABC, I’m not sure … but I could understand if they declined to do so, given the mindset.  I would suggest they speak to Neil Mitchell at 3AW.

As for Jon Faine, it is as if he just loves shifting to EMERGENCY BROADCASTING MODE. His voice changes, he sounds more like a colonel from the CMF and, all the time, the subliminal message is: where would the poor souls affected by these natural disasters be without the ABC?

(My friends who live in bushfire prone areas tell me that the ABC is becoming decreasingly relevant, with the new apps and other better sources of detailed information.)

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40 Responses to The fire at Morwell

  1. Robbo

    They never change at the ABC. Having been badly caught out falsely maligning Australian Navy personnel over the “burning hands” issue you would think they would be going out of their way to ensure that everything that they put out is correct and balanced. Unfortunately their politics always gets in the way and if a story can be skewed, edited or distorted to put a non Left government in a bad light then that is what occurs. This mob needs a good clean out from top to bottom. All those otherwise unemployable loony lefties masquerading as journalists and knowledgeable commentators drawing a wage at the ABC should be shown the door and told where to find their nearest Centrelink office. What is wrong with starting again and rebuilding what has become a sheltered workshop for the left wing morons who now control an organisation that is completely funded by the taxpayers?

  2. H B Bear

    Jon Paine should be one of the first lined up against the wall. Certainly Top 5. One of the most condescending pricks in the co-operative.

  3. Gab

    You mean the ABC has deliberately refused to report the facts and refused to report what the company has publicly stated? Well no surprises there then.

  4. sabrina

    If GDF-S really think the ABC spreading lies, they should say so loud and clear.

    At the end of the day, the taxpayers will foot the bill for this saga. When this eventually subsides, more comprehensive plans and effective safeguards against fire in opencut mines will evolve. But, I believe law in this country is really lax, there should be harsher penalty for fiirebugs.

    Bill Brown was and is a respectable and authoritative person on fighting fires, spontaneous or otherwise, from brown coal deposits.

  5. Andrew

    Because windmills never catch fire.

    What is it with Greens and setting things on fire? You’d think they were trying to get all that CO2 into the atmosphere faster.

  6. Andrew

    Or this one. (Bonus lulz for using the phrase “He pled guilty to minor arson charges.” That’s the kind of balanced, progressive reporting that the ABC can aspire to.)

  7. Baldrick

    Margo Kingston front-man and fellow traveller Tony Yegles naturally blames Jeff Kennett, a conservative ex-premier of Victoria …

    “Hazelwood mine was privatised by the Kennett govt in 1996 resulting in removal of sprinklers to save costs.”


  8. Samuel J

    The Chernobyl nuclear reactor was owned and operated by the Soviet Government. I’m not sure what privatisation has to do with the argument.

  9. lotocoti

    The ABC reports none of this and runs with the line that the company is hiding information and refuses to give out details.

    Having had some small experiences with ABC journalists’ journalistic abilities, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google and a spelling mistake led them to push that line.
    (My favourite was a panicked newsroom evacuation and a crazed round robin of HR conference calls all because a curious journo, instead of simply asking the building maintenance guy, hit the internet with a typo and sent the entire organisation to DEFCON1.)

  10. Outraged

    In my view, our ABC, particularly Jon Faine, has fanned the flames in an incoherent and unreasonable way. The whole thing has been misleading and definately confusing for the people of Morwell, many now unfairly blaming the Victorian Government and GDF SUEZ for the current situation. The ABC has hardly helpfully pulled the effort together, placing stumbling blocks instead. I’m glad we are not at war with anyone, particularly with the likes of the ABC on “our” side.

  11. Linden

    How come Faine is not broadcasting the volcano in Indonesia to the locals (via the ABC’s world news service of course), one would of thought his expertise would have been indispensable in such matters.

  12. the sting

    Last night’s 7 30 report Vic edition the Deputy Premier Peter Ryan was asked by Josie Taylor about a fire in a mine in Pennslyvania that has burned for more than 70 years,she asked ”is it ludicrous to raise this” he answered ”its ludicrous”.I am amazed that he did not give her a serve.There is no doubt in our society that the media is the problem.

  13. Linden

    Oh I get why he didn’t, no green house gases there, nothing to see here, move along thanks!

  14. Squirrel

    Thanks for joining the dots, Judith – I had been wondering why a problem affecting a town which is quite some way from inner-Melbourne latte land was being given so much national attention by the ABC.

  15. Leigh Lowe

    The ABC, particularly courtesy Jon Faine, seems to think that GDF Suez should be sent the bill, even though we know that it was firebug who started the fire.

    Where would Faine propose the bill be sent if, say, it was proven that a group of Greenpeace activists lit the fire?

  16. john constantine

    how did faine get away with setting himself up as the voice of anzac day?.it is like alice in wonderland ‘anzac day means what faine says it means,no more,no less’.

  17. Shelley

    I have been off for the past few days with an ankle sprain and stuck on the sofa. ABC24 are just hammering this story. You can hardly flick it on to that station without seeing the Vic Chief Health Officer & CFA Commissioner. Granted the community need to know what is going on – but it seems there is another agenda here for the ABC (as the article alludes to).

  18. Linden

    Hi thats the very thing I’ve been wondering, was is done a hardcore greenie activist to have Hazelwood shut down, they have tried numerous times to break into the place and cause havoc!

  19. Shelley

    Sorry, but weekly grants of $1200 for people who need to relocate? Really? That seems like an overallocation to my mind. Even with the cost of transport, motel accommodation and eating out every night for a family of four – do they need $2400 a fortnight??!! I guess you could argue that some of that is for inconvenience and suffering. Am I being hard hearted?

  20. Johno

    Well said, Judith.

    The Left’s ABC is completely out of control.

    Where is Turnbull? He is the responsible Minister. He must act. This is just getting ridiculous.

  21. Kel

    “…….As for Jon Faine, it is as if he just loves shifting to EMERGENCY BROADCASTING MODE. His voice changes, he sounds more like a colonel from the CMF and, all the time, the subliminal message is: where would the poor souls affected by these natural disasters be without the ABC?…..

    Don’t make me laugh.

    If someone could find 774’s “Emergency Broadcasting Mode” coverage of the night Marysville was razed and listen to Faine’s answer to a concerned listener enquiring about the well being of those in the town ( before any of us knew anything of what had happened) you would be disgusted.
    I was disgusted about the patronising, arrogant, dismissive tone the instant I heard it and even more disgusted when the horror became known the next morning.
    A small man, with a very small mind and exceptional bias, even by the standards of the ABC.
    He should be the first one shown the door.

  22. Fred Lenin

    One can speculate that this fire was started by green Terrorists , they woould be my first suspects. The “normal” Psychotic Firebug a would want to see flames panic,fire trucks police everywhere ,that would turn him on ,but a fire in a brown coal pit has No Drama just smouldering and smoke . The green fascists want to close Hazelwood,this amuses me ,no electricity ,no computer ,no meeja to indoctrinate the aircon in the public service “jobs” they have . In the old days this was called sh—ing in your own nest!

  23. egg_

    instead of simply asking the building maintenance guy, hit the internet with a typo and sent the entire organisation to DEFCON1

    Would Aunty know if her @rse were on fire?

  24. the sting

    Perhaps we should say that members of the ABC deliberately lit the fire?They are certainly trying to fan the flames.

  25. Rabz

    Shut. It. Down.

    Fire. Them. All.

  26. Tintarella di Luna

    We are seeing the end of days here. When’s Jon Faine going to interview Incitatus and does Mark Scott own a fiddle?

  27. Outraged

    In response to the post by “the sting” re the 70 year coal fire, there has been a black coal seam burning for decades near Murrurundi in NSW. This was called “the burning mountain” which fascinated us in our school studies. On visiting the area, there was the smoke rising from the ground. It still does, although diminished in the quantity of visible smoke. Nothing’s new, ABC.

  28. cuckoo

    While acknowledging the very real problems in Morwell, it’s funny how the ABC journos on the spot, normally so quick to don emergency fancy-dress when reporting from trouble spots (Philip Williams was recently kitted up like Robocop when reporting from a hotel balcony in Kiev, while a Channel 9 reporter walked the same streets in his shirtsleeves), appear there without breathing apparatus.

  29. wazsah

    Re any issue around the mines fire fighting plans, responsibilities, equipement – surely all would have been approved by the Vic Govt Mines Inspectors – you could not pick your nose on a minesite without their OK.
    So I would be checking that angle.

  30. Morwellian

    re; Fred Lennin. The fire in the mine pit was caused by spotting from a series of nearby fires – nobody actually got in there and lit the pit directly. I think the arsonist who lit those fires probably got their buzz. As for the ‘green facists’ you mention, I am one. I live in Morwell, work in the private sector, have solar panels, and our modest 60 year old weather board home has just one air con, one TV and one computer. No laptops, I-pods/pads, coffee machines, central heating or other modern over-indulgences. I will be happy if this disaster shuts the mine down. The sooner the better so it can stop polluting my home with it’s now unfiltered filth.

  31. john constantine

    as a rural resident,the way the abc has piled into ‘too little too late’ reporting for grassfires is amazing.useless,but amazing.

    the dinosaur hindbrain of the abc only realises that a grassfire has happened too late,and really,having an earnest abc type running through the politically correct and utterly useless babble that the lawyers tell them to say helps absolutely no-one. saying ‘it is now time to activate your fire plan’ in lecturing abc tones–what do the abc think that all the smoke mightn’t have got fire plans going before the good and great of the media provided leadership?. grasping for 15 billion dollars worth of tax dollars for their next decade using any excuse they can. all the government needs to do is make ‘disaster broadcasting’ a requirement to use broadcasting spectrum. [and all commercial channels broadcast the big disasters,just not giving as much airtime to sarah hanson young to blame abbott for the disaster.]

  32. Ingrid

    Police AND CFA said the fires had been started by somebody experienced on several places and called them “test fires “to see how the fires behave and where it goes. That is not your usual firebug. In my opinion anybody who startes fires in Australia is a terrorist and should be treated as such. The traitors we have in our own country against our own people are in our midst. Who needs enemies when we have the ABC?!

  33. Mr Wilson

    Judith Sloan has hit the nail on the head as far as the Morwell fire, Faine and the ABC are concerned.
    The other element of Faine’s week-long attempt at whipping up hysteria is it gives him yet another excuse to bash the State Government.

  34. Alamo

    Actually they are correct that since privatisation the sprinkler system has been removed or dramatically reduced. I don’t blame you guys for assuming that because you heard it on the ABC it must be false, but i think there is going to be major fallout from this.

    It used to be SEC practice to keep all of the exposed coal wet. This was hugely hugely costly and it is no longer in place. The reason that they went to such great lengths is firstly because partial-combustion brown coal fires are hugely poisonous. They release huge amounts of carbon monoxide – the same thing people use commit suicide from their car exhaust. The main symtpom people in Morwell are noting is extreme fatigue. They are experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning in its early stages.

    Secondly, these fires are unbelievably difficult to extinguish. Hisrorically many last over 100 years. One fire in Germany started in the 15th century and burnt for around 400 years. Even the latest firefighting techniques usually take around 2 years to put these fires out.

  35. Pogue Mahone

    I thought this was going to be about the Morwell fire, toxic air, health effects on the Morwell people and so on, like all the other web articles on this fire. With the exception of Alamo, who made the only worthwhile contribution that I saw on this page, it seems to be an ABC /Jon Faine bashing exercise.
    How about all you armchair commentators take a day off and go to Morwell, meet the local people. Breathe the country air. Get a life.
    Incidentally, Jon Faine gave me more information about the Morwell situation in two minutes than I got by reading every other word on this page.
    Pogue Mahone

  36. Rachel

    I am astounded by the disgusting comments on this page. I am a morwell resident and for weeks my family and I have suffered dreadful conditions with toxic fly ash covering everything. I now have severe respiratory issues. Everyone in town and the greater Latrobe Valley is suffering the effects. And you “people” are using our suffering as an opportunity to bash the “greenies” as you call them and the ABC the only news outlet that has bothered to publicise our plight. If this happened in kew it would not have taken 3 weeks for anyone to do anything! We have been let down by everyone. The brown coal should have been covered over and capped off with clay. It is know the world over how combustable brown coal is and the toxic contents of it’s smoke. This was a time bomb waiting to go off. This has been the 7th stuffed up disaster that the local community has had to suffer in recent years. Why don’t all you melbournites come to morwell and see what we have been living in and then make a judgement! We are all looking at long ten health issues from an industrial fire that should never have happened.

  37. Deb

    I am a Morwell resident and have been suffering with the smoke and ash. For 3 weeks my home has been blanketed in this stuff. My children as sick and the damaged it has caused to my home and furnishings is going to be expensive, but my insurance company will not cover it. I don’t have the means to leave, I don’t have friends or family out side of Morwell to stay with. I still have to pay my mortgage so I can not afford another lot of accommodation as well. I don’t qualify for the relocation grant as I am 300 meters from the evacuation zone, despite my home been just as invaded by this as the others. The government took 10 days to make any response, NOT GOOD enough. The mining company had a contractual requirement to make sure that the unused part of the mine was to be either
    a) to have a working sprinkler system (the were there on that side 5 years ago, as you could see them working), however they were removed to another part of the mine.
    b) to rehabilitate the mine, with clay and soil. This wasn’t done as it was deemed to costly.
    c) the regulator’s clearly didn’t do their job probably.
    There is plenty of official documentation out there to support this and this has been passed onto the solicitors. That I can Guarantee. As for ABC they have been the only news crew who has been listening to locals with our concerns.

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