Four Corners - Dirty Business, A

Australia might be riding on the coal miner's back but it seems many Australians are paying a terrible price for the mineral export boom. Reporter Andrew Fowler goes to the Hunter Valley in New South Wales to document a community in crisis.
The Upper Hunter Valley has three coal fired power stations and 14 massive open cut coal mines, producing 99 million tonnes of coal a year and there are more new mines on the way. The result is a massive increase in the amount of coal mine dust and power station pollutants in the air. Are the levels dangerous? It seems the State Government, that's approved the mines and takes significant royalties from them, doesn't want to find out.
What the residents do know is that many children in the region are getting sick. Asthma is rife, many have developed persistent coughs and others are experiencing recurring skin disorders.
Residents in the Valley have asked the Health Department to run tests on the health of the region's children. Instead they've been ignored. Again the question is why? For now at least local residents believe there is only one plausible answer.

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