Mine fire inquiry continues probe

THE Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry will this week investigate whether the fire contributed to an increased number of deaths in the Latrobe Valley.

It follows advocacy group Voices of the Valley suggesting there were 11 premature deaths in February and March last year in the postcodes surrounding the open cut mine, including Morwell, Churchill, Moe and Traralgon.

The group later successfully called for a reopening of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry prior to the State Government election last year.

Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages data analysed by Queensland University of Technology Associate Professor Adrian Barnett estimated an 89 per cent probability the death rates was 15 per cent higher in the period of the fire.

“The Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry has been re-opened because there are too many important questions that remained unanswered, especially in regards to the health impacts on our community,” Voices of the Valley president Wendy Farmer said.

“The community has fought hard for this new inquiry, because the truth and justice have not yet been served.”

The public hearings will take place at Kernot Hall on: 1 September 10am to 4pm; 2 September from 9am to 2.30pm and 3 September from 9am to 4pm.