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CICCC Update—13 October 2005 Meeting

Presentation by Pieter Riens, Hazard Director, WorkSafe

At the meeting of the CICCC on 13 October 2005, Pieter Rienks, Hazard Director, WorkSafe made a brief presentation to the Committee. He outlined the responsibilities of the Hazard Division, a group some 90 strong, who deal with the hazards of industry, licensing (including road traffic, pyrotechnics and displays), and contains the Major Hazards Branch. The approach is very much about outcomes, not merely process.

The Safety case initiative has worked well, with a major improvement in the integrated management of hazards at major facilities. Some companies have not adopted a sound methodology in the first cycle, and these companies will be asked to revise their approach for the second round, which will start in 2006.

In reply to a question on the quality and safety of tankers where these are operated by owner drivers, Pieter advised that the driver and the tanker are separately licensed, and are closely monitored by WorkSafe. The transport industry is also very strong on product stewardship.

Port Planning – presentation by Bruce Mildenhall MP

Bruce Mildenhall advised the Committee that a new planning process for the interaction between the port and surrounding areas has been established, with an emphasis on stake-holder participation. The key is finding a future for areas surrounding the port. The committee Bruce chairs has had two meeting to date involving agencies, Councils and industry.

Future meetings will be set up to look at each Municipality, and these will involve community representation, Maribyrnong was to have been the first of these, but has been deferred on account of the forthcoming elections for Maribyrnong City Council.

A key issue is road transport, and the projected increase in container movements from 2 million per year now, to 5.5 to 8 million within 20 years. Near Coode Island, P&O Ports account for some 2,000 to 3,000 truck movements per day, compared to the 60 to 70 tanker movements from the bulk storage facilities.

Michael Isaachsen questioned Bruce about the government’s target of 30% freight by rail. Bruce replied that leaving 70% on the road was not a good figure, and aggressive new policies were being developed to increase the ration. This led to discussion of transit cities, where port traffic is taken by rail to a site well away from the port, for subsequent redistribution. Bruce stated that three such centres were being developed, at Dandenong, Altona and Somerton. Bruce also advised that the issue of rail transport to Webb Dock was now back on the government’s agenda.

Pye Gas Transport

At the August CICCC meeting, community members raised concerns about the potential for adverse community impacts from future Pye Gas transport. The Pye gas is proposed to be stored at Terminals facility, and will involve road tankers travelling between Altona and Coode Island, potentially through Footscray. Geoff Cooke, from WorkSafe, advised that the transport route was discussed with the transport operator, and it has been resolved that tankers will use the West Gate Freeway and City Link, avoiding the use of residential streets.

EPA study of pollution in the Maribyrnong River.

Quentin Cooke of EPA advised the meeting of a major independent environmental audit being commissioned by EPA of the lower Maribyrnong River, lower Yarra River and Stony Creek Backwash between Somerville Road and the West Gate Bridge. Quentin said that the audit will look at the risk of any possible harm or detriment to any beneficial use made of the land, groundwater and surface waters caused by industrial processes, including arsenic waste used in land reclamation in the Whitehall Street Yarraville precinct. EPA has commissioned parallel investigations of water, sediment and fish which will compliment the work of the auditor. In reply to a question about the responsibility for clean-up costs, Quentin advised that land owners are typically responsible for clean-up of contamination arising on their site.

WorkSafe Annual Inspection

Geoff Cooke made a short statement on the annual WorkSafe inspection of the Terminals site, reporting that no major issues had been identified.

Community Information

Terminals Pty Ltd has undertaken to prepare a draft of an article providing information on the facility for the community. The Committee will consider ways of distributing the material at its next meeting. Terminals plans to have an open day next year, when the current relocation and improvement works are complete. The article will be a useful resource in explaining how the Terminals site has changed in recent years.

Next meeting of the CICCC

The next meeting of the CICCC will be held on Thursday 8 December 2005 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm.

Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 28 October 2005