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LABOR SAYS BOTCHED MINE FIRE

RESPONSE MUST NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN


Labor has a plan to support the Latrobe Valley as it continues its recovery from the mine fire.
An Andrews Labor Government will modernise the regulation of Victorias coal mines, reopen the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry
and act to protect the Latrobe Valley community.
The Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquirys August 2014 Report identified shortcomings in the adequacy of the existing rehabilitation
bonds and air quality monitoring capability.
An Andrews Government will refer fit for purpose terms of reference to a re-opened Inquiry to ensure a transparent, robust and
open process that will give people a say on rehabilitation and foster community confidence.
In contrast, Russell Northe and Denis Napthines review of work plans and the methodology of setting rehabilitation bonds is
being conducted in secrecy with no independent oversight.
Under Labor, rehabilitation bonds will be adjusted following the re-opened Inquirys findings to more adequately reflect the
current cost of the unmet rehabilitation of Victorias coal mines.
Labor will also examine the adequacy of the progressive rehabilitation of worked out areas of individual mines and require public
annual reporting on the progress of rehabilitation works by all coal mine owners.
Currently, the independent expert Technical Review Board is tasked with providing advice to government on mine and quarry
stability issues, specifically in relation to reducing risks to the environment, public safety and infrastructure. Labor will expand
the purpose and reporting requirements of the Technical Review Board in legislation to include progressive rehabilitation in its
scope.
An Andrews Labor government will also act to improve the health outcomes in the Latrobe Valley and address community
concern in light of the fire in the Hazelwood open cut earlier this year.
Labor supports the long term health study continuing for at least 20 years, with regular progress reports.
The EPA will be instructed to have permanent air quality monitors stationed in the Latrobe Valley and a position dedicated to
monitoring and publicly reporting on air quality.
Labor will require the reconstituted Inquiry to further investigate and provide specific advice on the creation of a model of
community health care, which incorporates an integrated environmental and public health framework; which is monitored
regularly, and is mandated to clearly identify current and emerging environmental public health issues.
Within this framework, Labor will incorporate the interim reports of the long term health effects study and establish a mechanism
to inform and advocate for community health needs into the future.
Following community consultation, the design of this advocacy may take the form of a specific position being filled or alternatively
the convening of an independent representative body which assumes responsibility for overseeing the distribution of health
information, rights advocacy and a greater degree of accountability from health agencies to the local community.

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