Cancer cluster decision 'out of our hands'

Wollongong's Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has admitted there's not much more the council can do after NSW Health's decision to close its Helensburgh cancer cluster investigation without any water or soil testing.

Cr Bradbery said the council had offered its support to the department with help carrying out the tests, but the department had obviously decided the testing was not required.

"I can't question that decision because we don't have the expertise and resources to challenge an expert panel of this calibre," he said.

"Honestly, I don't know where we go next - it's out of our hands.

"At this stage, all we can do is go with what information and advice NSW Health has provided."

The panel handed down its decision on Thursday, finding there was no evidence that Helensburgh residents were at increased risk of blood cancers due to environmental exposure.

It found the higher rate of leukaemia and lymphoma in Helensburgh children diagnosed between 2005 and 2008 most likely arose "by chance".

Cr Bradbery would not be drawn on whether he supported the panel's findings, saying the only information he had was what had been presented in the media.

He said he hoped to get a full briefing on the decision soon, as well as a copy of an earlier report following a 2008 examination of the matter.

Ward 1 councillor Greg Petty said he was disappointed NSW Health had not decided to meet with the community.

"While the panel may be experts in their field, the community is expert in Helensburgh and it is disappointing the panel would not face the community," he said.

Cr Petty also called on the department to release the full findings of its report.

However, fellow Ward 1 councillor Leigh Colacino said he was confident in the panel's findings.

"The members of this panel are professional people who are more than competent in their fields," he said.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery.


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