04 March 2014

People offered free train trips to escape smokes

Stone Jin writes:*

The Hazelwood mine in the Latrobe Valley has been burning for around 3 weeks, it blanketed Morewell with falling ash and smoke. Thousands of people living there waiting to escape were offered with free train tickets.

Obviously the coal mine fire causes huge negative social effects to the society, in short long people's regular life is ruined, and their health faces threat by ash and smoke emissions. Specifically, the smoke will rise of lung disease incidence rate. In long run, the fire will bring a great harm to the reginal economic. The state public transport minister, Terry Mulder said the offer of free train tickets to anywhere in Victoria is an good gesture to help people escape the smoke. Under this circumstance, the free train tickets can be regarded as common goods. Everyone will have the free ticket in the end, but those who waiting longer will be more suffered by the pollution. The extra train arrangement will also affect the transport around the area.

With the respect of the Hazelwood mine owner, GDF Suez Australian Energy, it has responsiblity to do the damage compensation indeed. The morewell residents are considering to sue GDF Sues Australian Energy. Besides the residents harm, death and health problems, the damage to those business which depending on nature condition can't be ignored(farmers, herdmen). Meanwhile even the public transport officer announced to offer people with free train tickets, the benefits go the residents living nearby. Consequently company may have partial obligation payment for the free train tickets. Last but no least, there's another problem which is the social transaction cost to deal with the fire (how to minimize the cost to control the fire).

Bottom Line: In conclusion, the fire brings huge negative social effects to this area. It hurts both the market economy and the utilization of natural resources in Australia.

* These guest posts are from students in my resource economics class at Simon Fraser University. Please leave feedback on their logic, ideas and style and suggestions of how to improve.


  1. From your Blog, I learned the issue of the Hazel wood mine which is I did not know before. I got a clearly understand of this issue because the blog was very clear, and organization to explain this issue, not only explains the negative externalizes of coalmine fire that is harm to human health and air environment, and also explains how government deals with the problem.

    However, the blog were state two problems that are “everyone will have the free ticker in the end, but those who waiting longer will be more suffered by pollution, and the problem of social transaction cost.” In the conclusion, give some suggestions to solve this problem in order to discuss who have obligation payment for the free train tickets.
    #2292# Hui

  2. Hi,
    Thanks for telling us the Hazel wood mine has been burning. From your blog, I deem offering free train ticket for residents is just a short term solution. We should focus on some long term solution.The relationship between the natural resource and the economy is always a big issue in our world. Lots of areas exchange their natural resource to the development of the economy, so we should figure out this problem and find the balance of this issue. From my view, I deem using the natural resource is good way to improve the economy, but people can't waste the resource during exploitation. If we find the right way, we can substantially exploit the mine, wood and other limited resource, and this way will not be harmful for the environment and people. Absolutely, protecting environment is the most important, we should stop mining if we can't find the efficient way to exploit.In a word, with the development of science and technology,I believe people will be reasonable and efficient to resolve the balance of the environment and the exploitation.



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