THE HAZELWOOD MINE FIRE INQUIRY REPORT

This report is the culmination of the Board’s work and reflects the entire conduct of the Inquiry.

Chapters in Part Two The fire include information about the origin and circumstances of the Hazelwood mine fire, measures taken by the State and GDF Suez to prepare to respond to fire, and the effectiveness and execution of those measures during the Hazelwood mine fire.

This section speaks primarily to fire services agencies and GDF Suez, but will also be of interest to members of the community who want to know how the fire started and why it took so long to extinguish.

Chapters in Part Three Fire risk management discuss the adequacy and effectiveness of measures taken to prevent and mitigate the spread of fire at state, regional and municipal levels, as well as at the Hazelwood mine itself. These chapters also consider whether GDF Suez implemented recommendations arising from reviews of previous fires and complied with legal obligations under the mine licensing and occupational health and safety regimes.

Chapter 3.1 is directed to the State and the Latrobe City Council, while Chapter 3.2 discusses the performance of the Victorian WorkCover Authority and the Mining Regulator. Chapter 3.3 focuses on the actions of GDF Suez, but also addresses issues raised by community members and environmental groups, such as rehabilitation of the Hazelwood mine.

Chapters in Part Four Health and wellbeing respond to concerns surrounding the environmental and health effects of the fire, and the adequacy and effectiveness of the health, relief and recovery response by government agencies.

Part Five Communications includes an analysis of how government agencies and GDF Suez managed their public communications and the overall effectiveness of crisis communication methods employed during the Hazelwood mine fire.

The Health and wellbeing and the Communications parts will be of most interest to the community and agencies responsible for health, environment, relief, recovery and communications.

The Board has structured the report in this way for a number of reasons.

The Board’s guiding motivation was to ensure that each section served as a single reference point for the key stakeholders most interested in the subject matter of that section, and the parties responsible for implementation of the corresponding recommendations made by the Board.

Individual chapters have also been structured around the Board’s Terms of Reference. It quickly became apparent to the Board that certain elements of its Terms of Reference and the evidence relevant to them overlap in a number of respects. For example, it is difficult to assess the adequacy and effectiveness of fire preparedness measures taken by the State and GDF Suez without a detailed understanding of the difficulties encountered during the firefighting response. Similarly, it is difficult to report on the adequacy and effectiveness of the administration and enforcement of mine licensing and occupational health and safety regimes without a discussion of the underlying regulatory framework and the measures adopted by GDF Suez under this framework.

Other Terms of Reference call for an examination of a range of actions by different parties. For example, there are a number of dimensions to regulation of the risk of, and response to, the Hazelwood mine fire, with different areas directed to different stakeholders. While a degree of duplication is unavoidable, the Board has strived to avoid this wherever possible.