Media Releases | 26th May, 2015

Re-opened Hazelwood inquiry a chance for fresh start for the Latrobe Valley


26 May 2015

Environment Victoria welcomes the Terms of Reference for the re-opened Hazelwood Inquiry, released this morning, which put a major focus on ensuring Victoria’s coal mines are rehabilitated adequately.

The Terms of Reference explicitly require the Board of Inquiry to look at short, medium and long term rehabilitation options, and to revise whether current rehabilitation bonds adequately reflect the required rehabilitation task.Environment Victoria Safe Climate Campaign Manager Nicholas Aberle said today:

“We welcome the re-opening of the Hazelwood inquiry by the Andrews Government and its clear focus on rehabilitation options for each of Victoria’s coal mines. This inquiry could be the start of a new era for the Latrobe Valley.”

“At the first Hazelwood inquiry, there was ample evidence to show that bringing forward mine rehabilitation requirements would be an effective way of preventing catastrophic mine fires, but there were no specific recommendations to enforce this.

“The re-opened Hazelwood inquiry will review what these mines will be at the end of their lives, and the system in place to ensure those goals are delivered.

“As everyone agreed at the first Hazelwood inquiry, the current rehabilitation bonds are much lower than the likely cost of rehabilitation. Raising those bonds at each mine to match their actual liability will be a key task for the inquiry.

“Community expectation needs to be a central criteria for measuring the success of rehabilitation work. It is important the community is given a clear voice in what rehabilitation options are pursued at each coal mine.

“The re-opened inquiry is a great opportunity for the community to ensure that these mines, which take up an enormous area in the Latrobe Valley, don’t end up as useless wastelands. The community deserves something that will provide on-going amenity.

“We look forward to contributing to and participating in the re-opened Hazelwood inquiry in the coming months, where we’ll be advocating for a system that delivers on community expectations and the best environmental standards.”


For comment:

Dr Nick Aberle, Safe Climate Campaign Manager, 0402512121