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Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry written submissions close at 4.00 pm today.

Written submissions are the primary way in which the Inquiry is collecting information from the public and organisations about the circumstances of the Hazelwood Coal Mine fire, the emergency response and the support provided to Morwell residents and other affected communities. Community consultations have been extremely valuable as well.

Last week, the Inquiry completed the last of  ten consultations which took place in Morwell, Moe, Churchill and Traralgon. More than 260 people throughout the Valley participated in open discussions about what worked, what didn’t work and what changes should be made to avoid or respond to a similar event if it happened in the future.

‘The community consultations gave people an opportunity to speak freely and have their say’, said Sonia Petering, ‘as a Board member, it was my job to listen to people’s stories, issues and concerns’.

‘Now we need to take that information, along with what is contained in the written submissions, and use it to help us decide what we need to focus on during the next phase of the Inquiry which is the formal hearings process’.

‘The health and well-being of Morwell and Latrobe Valley residents is certainly at the top of my priority list’ said Professor John Catford, who also found the community consultation process to be invaluable in helping the Board.

‘The consultation process helped me understand and appreciate what the community experienced during and after the fire and the issues that now need to be addressed by the Board’, he said.

Formal hearings commence on Monday 26 May 2014 in the Auditorium located on the ground floor at 20 Hazelwood Road, Morwell.

‘Everyone is encouraged to attend and view the proceedings’, said an Inquiry spokesperson, ‘but unless they have been formally notified, they will not be able to provide evidence’.

Community members wishing to attend the hearings are asked to use the Ann Street Entrance.

Summaries of the consultation discussions can be found at  Copies of public written submissions will also be available on the Inquiry website in the coming weeks.

Contact:  Media and Communications Manager, Tracey Matters, 0417 230 503

Last Updated on Monday, 12 May 2014