DESPERATE calls for a government-funded study into the health impacts of coal and power industries on Hunter residents have been taken to Minister for the Hunter Jodi McKay.
Protesters rallied outside Ms McKay's Newcastle office yesterday, calling on the Minister to "put public health before mining companies".
Greens MP Lee Rhiannon, who led the protest, demanded the State Government expand its commitment to investigate a potential cancer cluster in Singleton and grant a full public health enquiry.
She said the request for a comprehensive health study had landed on deaf ears for at least a decade.
"The lack of action by the Government is certainly making people very angry and many locals really do link it with the powers of the mining companies," she said.
Member of Singleton Shire Healthy Environment Group Lyn MacBain told the rally how asthma had debilitated her health.
"Since 1992 we've been asking the Government to turn around and support more health risk assessments in development applications," she said.
"They aren't doing what they said they would do and that's protect us."
Ms McKay, who was in Sydney yesterday, said the protest was "political grandstanding".
She said she was "acutely" aware of resident concerns over the potential impact of coalmining and had met with Singleton Shire Healthy Environment Group recently.
"I want to be absolutely clear that I take the concerns of the Singleton Shire Healthy Environment Group, and indeed the wider community, very seriously and I will work with them and my cabinet colleagues to move forward," she said. "I do not support the blatant and unashamed attempt by Lee Rhiannon and the Greens to hijack this important issue for their own benefits."