Urgent Steps To Fix Mine Fire Safety And Keep Valley Safe

23 January 2015

Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Resources Lily D’Ambrosio and Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing to announce that there are new requirements for mine operators to carry out risk assessments and develop fire management plans thatwill be fast tracked.

These changes would improve safety at the three major coal mines in the Latrobe Valley ahead of the 2015/16 bushfire season, in line with the recommendations of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry.

The Labor Government is bringing forward this requirement through variations to the mine operators’ licences. They will also be required to regularly review these assessments and plans and improve them over time.

The Hazelwood, Yallourn and Loy Yang coal mines will each be required to carry out a risk assessment of the likelihood and impact of fire in the worked-out areas of their mines and an assessment of the most practical and effective fire protection of exposed coal surfaces.

They will also be required to implement a plan to reduce the risk of a fire in the mine, to fight any fires that occur and to mitigate the impacts of any fires.

Coal mine operators have agreed to publicly report on the progress of rehabilitation works on an annual basis, commencing this year. The Government will fulfil its commitment to implement regulatory reform to ensure this is an industry standard.

As part of the Labor Government’s plan to improve safety, Victorian firefighters will also be trained and equipped with the latest technology to battle brown coal mine fires.

The Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry will also be reopened to look into the reported spike of deaths and consider options for the mine’s rehabilitation.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“What happened at Hazelwood must never be allowed to happen again.”

“Now the mine operators will have to do more to be prepared and keep the mine safe.”

“This isn’t just about the safety of the mine – it’s about the safety of tens of thousands of firefighters and Latrobe Valley locals. That’s what matters most to us.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio

“In the middle of a disaster, the Coalition left the people of the Valley on their own.”

“The Labor Government is fast tracking these tough new changes, so mine operators have to meet the most stringent standards of safety.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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