The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) previously advised members of the public that electromagnetic emissions were considered to be outside the provisions of Victoria’s Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008. Following a complaint raised by a member of the public to the Victorian Ombudsman, the department has reviewed its position and considers that the Public Health and Wellbeing Act has a very broad potential application and that health impacts of electromagnetic emissions could be within its scope where evidence arises of serious risks to health.
Stop Smart Meters Australia (SSMA) and members of the public have been raising this issue with the department for a number of years without success. Following yet another reply to SSMA dated 23 May 2016 denying legislative responsibility, Janobai Smith, SSMA Advocacy and Policy Advisor, took the step of asking the Victorian Ombudsman to provide clarification regarding the responsibilities and advice provided to the public by DHHS – advice that stated the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Act DOES NOT apply to electromagnetic emissions and radio frequency aspects of smart meters. How wrong they were!
The end result is a complete about-face by DHHS. The department has confirmed to the Victorian Ombudsman that it has made amendments to the advice that it will now provide to the public.
The Ombudsman’s office acknowledges that the department initially provided information that was inaccurate and is satisfied that the department has since taken reasonable steps to correct the information about smart meters that it provides the public.
The Ombudsman’s office has also undertaken to raise with DHHS the issue of contacting members of the public who had received incorrect advice in order that its revised advice might be provided. The Ombudsman, however, is not able to compel DHHS to do this.
…SSMA wonders, in light of this new-found responsibility, when DHHS might now actually admit that there is evidence of serious risk to public health and start taking steps to address the needs of people with electro-hypersensitivity? And when also might SSMA’s request to implement a smart meter post-rollout health surveillance program as routinely occurs in other areas, such as for post-market pharmaceutical drug safety, be considered?
For past posts on this issue, see: