Premier Daniel Andrews has today announced $25.4 million in funding to implement all recommendations of the 2014 Hazelwood Mine Fire Board of Inquiry.
Full implementation of the inquiry’s recommendations would improve safety at the three major coal mines in the Latrobe Valley and across Victoria.
Mr Andrews also said the inquiry would recommence in May to get to the bottom of concerns of a spike in deaths following the fire, as well as mine rehabilitation.
Implementing all the recommendations will provide better monitoring and prevention of mine fires and significant smoke events, and support safety and wellbeing of the Latrobe Valley community.
The $25.4 million commitment will fund a number of key initiatives, including:
- funding for a long-term health study in the Latrobe Valley
- Development of the State Smoke Framework, to reduce the impact on communities and firefighters from large-scale or extended smoke events, setting out air quality monitoring protocols, the health response and timely provision of information to those affected by smoke
- an increase to the Victorian mining regulator’s capacity to assess and monitor mine planning for fire prevention, mitigation and suppression
- the purchase of state-of-the-art air quality equipment that the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) can deploy at short notice anywhere in the state
- greater engagement with trusted local networks to help communities better understand and plan for the risks they face
- monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the inquiry recommendations over the next three years
The Hon Bernard Teague AO, who led the 2014 inquiry, has indicated his willingness to serve as chairman again upon its return.
The Andrews Labor Government has already fast tracked tough new changes, so that mine operators must meet the most stringent standards of safety.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“We’re implementing the full set of recommendations– the people of the Valley deserve nothing less.”
“The Coalition abandoned Latrobe Valley, at a time when they most needed help.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio
“By providing better monitoring and prevention of mine fires and smoke events, the safety and wellbeing of the Latrobe Valley community will be protected.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Lisa Neville
“The long-term health study will get to the bottom of concerns in the community, and give locals the answers they need.”