CICCC Update—15 June 2000 Meeting

 At the meeting of the Coode Island Community Consultative Committee held on 15 June 2000, Peter Reddie, General Manager of Terminals Pty Ltd advised that the Works Approval application for the upgrade would be lodged on Friday 16 June. The submission of the application follows a period of consultation by Terminals with the Committee over the past four meetings on design concepts and the choice of technology. “While being mindful of commercial confidentiality, we have structured the Works Approval application so that we can make it available to the public in full.” Peter advised the Committee.

The EPA will now consider the application. Once it is accepted as complete the EPA will advertise for public comment and commence the formal approval process. Advertising is expected to occur in early July. Peter advised that “Once the EPA have accepted the application as complete, copies will be made public. The full application (text and tables) will also be posted on the web site.”

The CICCC will hold a Public Forum at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on Thursday 29 June at 7:00 pm. Terminals will present its proposal at the forum, and regulators (EPA, WorkCover, Department of Human Services, Emergency Services and Councils) will be present to advise on their procedures and requirements. Presenters will respond to questions and comments from the public.

Huw Jones, a risk consultant from DNV, made a presentation to the Committee on the safety assessment of the upgraded facility. He told the Committee that the risk footprint for the bulk chemical storage was much lower than for many Major Hazard Facilities. The study conducted by DNV was used by Terminals to get the best design layout for the upgrade. As a result the risk contours have contracted 30% radially compared to pre-upgrade conditions.

Peter Reddie also advised the Committee that as a result of improved workplace management at Coode, the number of injuries per million man hours worked had fallen from 64 in 1993 to 8 in the last year.

Matthew Wylie of WorkCover reported recent 6 monthly audits undertaken at Coode Island. Matthew showed that the level of compliance at Terminals’ site is generally in the top 25% of hazardous sites in Victoria.

The Committee had previously sought advice from the Victorian Government concerning the basis for their decision to retain bulk hazardous chemical storage at Coode Island, and in particular to publicly release legal advice they were relying on. In April the Minister for State and Regional Development, the Hon John Brumby, advised the Committee that “In view of the confidential nature of legal advice to the Government, I am not at liberty to pass this advice to the Committee.” The CICCC has decided to write again to the Premier, questioning the view that legal advice in general should be considered confidential and calling again for its release.

The Committee considered a report from Faye Simpson, a community representative on the CICCC, which raised her concerns about:

  • the need to study community health as well as mortality data in relation to health risks;
  • future emission monitoring;
  • the quantification of the expected improvements to the residual risk associated with each chemical stored at Coode Island;
  • whether operators at the terminal are likely to suffer from reduced efficiency as a result of exposure to emissions, injury, illness or fatigue, security at the site; and
  • the use of rail access to P&O Ports container terminal.

The Committee welcomed the report and has requested the Department of Human Services and Terminals Pty Ltd to respond to the issues.

Community representative Ian Thomas questioned whether Terminals could relocate propylene oxide storage to its Geelong site. Terminals has undertaken to review the cost and safety factors associated with such a relocation and to report to the Committee at its July meeting.

The next CICCC meeting will be held on Thursday 13 July. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30pm.

Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 16 June, 2000