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Health Minister admits lessons to be learnt from thunderstorm asthma event

The interim report into the unprecedented thunderstorm asthma event that claimed the lives of nine people has been released.

The report by the Inspector General for Emergency Management found emergency authorities acted accordingly during the event on 21 November, but there was a lack of previous experience of an event of this size and little public information.

It was also found there was limited communication sharing between agencies.

The government has committed a funding package to investigate the causes behind the thunderstorm asthma including:

  • $300,000 to a pollen monitoring network
  • $700,000 into research into thunderstorm asthma

Health Minister Jill Hennessy admitted that there were ways to improve, including a better health emergency model.

‘Noting that this was an un-predicted, unprecedented event….having said that, in hindsight there are always things to learn,’ she told Neil Mitchell.

Ms Hennessy said it was about better communicating, predicting and responding to an unpredictable event.

‘We know that we’ve got to have a system in place that is able to at the centre better coordinate, better get information and better support all of our emergency services,’ she said.

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