ENGIE 0N TRIAL FOR MINE FIRE

Herald Sun - - NEWS - AN­THONY GALLOWAY

THE owner of Hazel­wood coal mine will face trial over the 2014 fire that blan­keted the La­trobe Val­ley in smoke for 45 days.

French owner Engie is facing 10 charges re­lat­ing to the mine fire af­ter a sev­en­day com­mit­tal hear­ing fin­ished up in the La­trobe Val­ley Mag­is­trates’ Court yes­ter­day.

The work­place safety watch­dog is prose­cut­ing the com­pany over the al­leged breaches for fail­ing to keep its work­ers and oth­ers in the com­mu­nity safe.

Hazel­wood Power Cor­po­ra­tion, which is owned by Engie, has now been com­mit­ted to stand trial over the fire.

Mag­is­trate Tim Walsh found the ev­i­dence to be of suf­fi­cient weight for the mat­ter to go to trial in the County Court.

The com­pany has in­di­cated it will plead not guilty to the 10 charges, which in­clude five for fail­ing to pro­vide a safe work­place, and five for fail­ing to en­sure the public was not ex­posed to risks.

A di­rec­tions hear­ing has been set for next month in Mel­bourne.

The 45-day blaze cov­ered Mor­well and nearby towns in acrid smoke af­ter the fire in Fe­bru­ary 2014.

In a state­ment, Engie said it in­tended to “vig­or­ously de­fend the charges laid by WorkSafe”.

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