CICCC Update—13 May 2010 Meeting

Cheryl Batagol

At the CICCC meeting on 13 May 2010, Cheryl Batagol, the Chair of EPA, made a presentation to the meeting and answered questions. Key issues that Cheryl addressed included:

  • A focus on governance, completing a transformation journey for EPA to become a modern and accountable regulatory authority.
  • Separation of Chair and CEO positions, with the Chair independent of day-to-day decisions, and will bring a higher level of accountability.
  • Recognition of the need to change how EPA operates, helping organisations to comply with the Environment Protection Act.
  • Changing the organisational culture so that staff with the skills and knowledge to make decisions make them.
  • The right of the community to know and understand what is happening in their community. We are committed to engaging with local communities and the broader civil society.

City of Maribyrnong wins appeal

The City of Maribyrnong was successful in defending its refusal to support an application for the construction of a 66 unit residential development at 200 Stephen Street, Yarraville, approximately 200 metres from the Mobil Oil Yarraville facility. Notwithstanding that the applicant took the matter to VCAT on the grounds that the Council had not made a decision within the statutory time limit, Council was opposed to the proposal from the outset.

VCAT heard the appeal and in agreeing with Council, ordered that no permit be issued.

Lessons from Buncefield

An Unconfined Vapour Cloud Explosion (UVCE) occurred at Buncefield (a large storage facility which supplies Heathrow Airport), caused by the overfilling of a tank with unleaded petrol. The consequences included:

  • sizeable damage to property within 800 metres of the site;
  • 43 accident victims (but fortunately no deaths);
  • A tremendous black cloud primarily composed of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, volatile organic compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons resulted from the fire, and part of it was tracked as far as Spain;
  • The total cost of the incident has been estimated at over one billion dollars.

Terminals advised the meeting that the greatest danger of a UVCE at the Terminals Coode facility was during the transfer of acrylonitrile from ship to storage tanks. That danger no longer occurs as acrylonitrile is no longer stored at the Terminals facility. Nevertheless, the lessons from the Buncefield UVCE will be factored in to the Safety Case for the facility.

Next meeting of the CICCC

The next meeting of the CICCC will be held on Thursday 19 August 2010 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm. At that meeting the 2009 Annual Report will be discussed. Any interested member of the community is welcome to attend the CICCC meetings. The dates for the following last meeting in 2010 is 2 December.

Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 23 August 2010 CICCC