Unit to monitor mine safety

A mine fire safety unit will be established in Latrobe Valley as part of a recommendation of the 2014 Hazelwood Mine Fire Board of Inquiry.

The State Government is advertising six mine fire safety positions, the majority to be based in the Valley.

Energy and Resources Minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced the new positions as part of the government’s commitment in the Hazelwood Coal Mine Fire Inquiry: Implementation and Monitoring Plan.

The new unit follows measures requiring mine operators to carry out risk assessments and implement fire risk plans.

Voices of the Valley president Wendy Farmer said the news of extra positions dedicated to the Latrobe Valley was welcome.

“It’s good to know we will have people there to make sure we are safe from any future episodes that may happen, especially coming up to the hot summer they are predicting,” she said.

Morwell and Districts Community Recovery Committee chair Carolyne Boothman said although she had not seen the detail, in principle she welcomed the announcement.

“I think it’s fantastic news. Anything that brings jobs to the area is fantastic and will be well-received. The fact people are recognising Latrobe Valley is a unique area with unique needs is another step forward, as well,” Ms Boothman said.