23 March 2000 Meeting

Coode Island Committee Update

Terminal’s Victorian Manager told the Coode Island Community Consultative Committee’s March meeting that the company had agreed to defer its application for an EPA Works Approval for the plant upgrade, to allow more time for community consultation.

George Horman said the company had agreed to the committee’s request to defer its application for the plant upgrade for a month until June 1.

Mr Horman explained to committee members how the hazardous chemical storage footprint had been reduced following the fire in 1991 and the closure of the BP site. He said the company planned to use the former BP site to upgrade the plant. P&O Ports was redeveloping the site devastated by the fires, to the north of the BP site, for container storage.

George told the Committee about the difficulties of upgrading the propylene oxide tanks if they were to stay in their existing location east of MacKenzie Road. “The propylene oxide tanks are vital to down stream industry – we cannot close it for 8-12 months to work on it”. George said. “We propose to fully refit the propylene oxide facility with new technology regardless of whether it stays where it is or if a new facility is built on the BP site. New technologies include all new piping-systems, automated valves, sophisticated monitoring and control systems, pumps, electrics, an upgraded truck loading tanker bay & systems, and new above ground bund drainage.”

“To achieve this on a working facility will be very difficult and there would be disruption to industry. A complete reconstruction will allow the facility to reach the highest feasible standard and will allow a better, safer outcome” George told the Committee.

The CICCC has scheduled a series of meetings to progressively review the Terminals upgrade proposals. They are all open to the public.

13 April         Scheduled CICCC meeting, providing background briefing to the proposed upgrading.

27 April         Special CICCC meeting, looking at proposed layouts of the new plant.

11 May         Scheduled CICCC meeting, to look at the draft EPA Works Approval application

14 June          A Community Forum hosted by CICCC where the proposal will be presented to the community and Terminals will take questions.

WorkCover has received 65 submissions on their Major Hazard Facility draft Regulations, the majority of which were from industry. The committee and the Hobsons Bay Community against Toxic Sites argued that the Safety Cases should be public documents. WorkCover’s proposed response is for a summary of the Safety Cases to be available at municipal libraries. The Committee resolved to write to WorkCover urging that all Safety Cases be made publicly available, as they are in the UK.

“We are in the process of preparing 26 Guidance Notes on the MHF Regulations to help operators and other stakeholders” Matthew Wylie, WorkCover’s representative on the CICCC, told the Committee. “WorkCover will progressively release drafts of these for public input” he added.

Matthew also advised the Committee of an inter–agency working group (EPA, DHS, WorkCover and MFB) which is being established to ensure the streamlined approach by these agencies to the Terminals Coode Island redevelopment. A key activity of this group will be to map the coverage of the different legislative requirements for health and safety. “Questions by CICCC on the overlapping responsibilities of different agencies has provided impetus to the formation of the working group” Matthew said.

P&O Ports Limited Manager Engineering Services, Gavin Berry, told the committee that the container throughput at Coode Island varied from 700 to 1000 containers per day. “Of these about 3% contain hazardous materials, which are stored in specified locations and usually removed from the site within 48 hours”, he said . “A few containers hold safety cartridges and fireworks, which are removed from the wharf within four hours.”

Members of the public are welcome to attend the next meeting of the CICCC on Thursday 13rd April 2000 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm

Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 28 March 2000