Media Releases | 21st Mar, 2014

Environment Victoria Response to Terms of Reference for Hazelwood Coal Mine Fire Inquiry

Environment Victoria Response to Terms of Reference for Hazelwood Coal Mine Fire Inquiry
 Friday, 21 March 2014

Environment Victoria broadly welcomes the Terms of Reference for judicial inquiry into the Hazelwood Coal Mine Fire.

Safe Climate Campaign Manager Dr Nicholas Aberle said today:

“The terms of reference for the Judicial Inquiry are reasonably comprehensive. However we have three reservations regarding the Terms of Reference, on which we would like clarification from Premier Napthine:

1.    All Victorians must be able to make submissions to the inquiry. Following what is possibly the worst incident of environmental pollution in our state’s history, it is critical that views are actively sought from both the affected communities and the wider public. The Terms of Reference currently leave it to the discretion of the inquiry whether public submissions will be accepted.

2.    While the Terms of Reference direct the inquiry to address the “adequacy and effectiveness of the application and administration of relevant regulatory regimes”, there is no explicit requirement for the Board to investigate whether the existing regulatory regime is itself adequate to prevent such fires from occurring. The role of GDF Suez in this disaster must be investigated, but so must the role of Government in setting the conditions under which the mine operates.

3.    The Terms of Reference require the Board to report its findings to Cabinet. We would like an undertaking from Premier Napthine that the full findings of the inquiry will be made public within a week of the completion of the inquiry. The people of Morwell, in particular, deserve to know the full truth behind this disaster.”

For comment

Dr Nicholas Aberle
Safe Climate Campaign Manager, Environment Victoria

0402 512 121

Make a submission to the inquiry