Rehab work plan processes slammed

The president of the Technical Review Board has slammed the process of rehabilitation works plans.

The Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry heard the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources approved with conditions a 2015 Work Plan Variation for AGL Loy Yang mine three weeks prior to the State Government hearings.

However in a letter to the mine regulator in October, Emeritus Professor Jim Galvin said the underpinning technical information for the approved work plan variation for the mine was “scant”.

The Technical Review Board, set up in 2009 following the Yallourn mine batter collapse, provides independent advice to assist the department on mine and quarry issues to reduce risk to environment and public safety.

Professor Galvin said a range of aspects critical to successful rehabilitation had not been assessed or discussed.

He said the fundamental problem appeared to be detailed performance criteria had yet to be set by the government, providing the example rehabilitation batters were simply required to be “safe and stable in the long term”.

“It does not contribute to properly assessing risk and rehabilitation and such a meaningful assessment is likely to take several more years given the point at which the mine approval process is currently at in Victoria,” Professor Galvin said.

AGL Loy Yang solicitor Juliet Forsyth asked Professor Galvin to recognise the fact AGL Loy Yang was subject to the regulatory system and comments should be directed to the regulator.

“My criticism is directed to the regulator, AGL Loy Yang has been consistent with progressive rehabilitation, but there should be a process to critically examine those assertions,” Prof Galvin said.