May pegged for mine fire inquiry reopening

A reopened Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry will begin in May, with an exact starting date for the hearings expected to be announced next week.

Speaking in the Latrobe Valley yesterday, Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett said further inquiry details would soon be confirmed by Energy and Resources Minister Lily D’Ambrosio.

“One of our key election commitments was the inquiry will be reopened and that will occur next month,” Ms Garrett said.

Labor committed to reopen the inquiry before the November State Government election “as soon as possible”, however progress is understood to have been delayed by an increased focus on the 2014/15 fire season.

Among a new terms of reference, the Inquiry is expected to probe claims of a spike in the death rate in areas surrounding the Hazelwood mine during the period of the fire.