On 22 August 2018, Coroner Hawkins handed down her recommendations after conducting an inquiry into the tragic death of Mrs Sonia Sofianopoulos.

On 18 October 2018, the Victorian Government released its response to the Coroner’s recommendations.

Government response

The Victorian Government offers its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mrs Sofianopoulos.

The Government is committed to acting on the recommendations from the Coroner’s report. Actions are already underway to improve public health and safety.

The Coroner found that the death of Mrs Sofianopoulos was a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, caused by “a confluence of events that proved to be fatal”.

Your safety is our priority

The safety of Victorians is the Government’s first priority.

The Government is acting in response to the Coroner’s recommendations, to deliver improved protection for Victorian households.

The Government will provide Victorians with strengthened safeguards so that they can use gas heating with confidence.

Victorian Government response: a summary

RecommendationResponseKey actions
1. Phase out open flue gas space heatersSupport-in-principleDELWP review of open flue heaters through a regulatory impact statement (RIS) process
2. Mandatory continuous professional development for plumbersSupportDELWP will conduct a RIS to investigate options in 2019 (Head of power created 2018)
3. Climate Technologies to publish articles warning of the importance of servicing SupportESV to support Climate Technologies to publish advertisements
4. ESV to publish an article in their quarterly newsletter on CO spillage testingSupportESV has published an article on check testing, negative pressure, new gas scheme rules, and CO risks and will reiterate in subsequent editions
5. VBA to review requirements for certificates of complianceSupportVBA review underway
6. Chairman of Australian Standards Committee to consider adding Appendix R of AS5601SupportAustralian Standards Committee review underway
7. ESV to review communication of guidelines, changes and updatesSupportESV review to be completed in 2018, with new communications tools implemented in 2019
8. Media and public awareness campaign on open flue heatersSupportGovernment communications campaign planned in lead up to winter 2019

Victorian Government full response

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Page last updated: 18/10/18