The Victorian Government has introduced a bill to appoint a new commissioner to supervise the Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation, following the Hazelwood mine fire in 2014.
The coal mine fire, which was sparked by flying embers from a nearby bushfire, burned near the Victorian town of Morwell for 45 days.
It was also linked to increased deaths in the Latrobe Valley area, compared to previous years.
The new bill, which was given to parliament, will establish the statutory office of the commissioner to both monitor and audit mine rehabilitation in the area.
The commissioner will give independent advice to the state government on mine rehabilitation; help develop the Latrobe Valley Rehabilitation Strategy; work together with the community, stakeholders and Latrobe Valley mine operators; and oversee individual rehabilitation planning for each of the coal mines.
They will also work in collaboration with the Latrobe Valle Mine Rehabilitation Advisory Committee.
This decision comes after a recommendation for the reopened 2015-16 Hazelwood Mine Inquiry, following the first Inquiry board’s failure to consider rehabilitation planning.
Victorian resources minister Wade Noonan said, “Mine rehabilitation is a key issue for local communities in the Latrobe Valley, and that’s why appointing an independent Commissioner is so important.”
“They will assist in the planning of mine rehabilitation across the region and ensure communities have a voice at the table.”
The state government will also collaborate with industry and local communities to implement the recommendations in the 2014 Inquiry.