At the Coode Island Community Consultative Committee (CICCC) meeting on Thursday 24 June 1999, the CICCC decided to establish a new Sub-Committee on Emergency Management, which will comprise two community representatives from the Committee (Marg Leser and Robert Glavich), the Combined Environment Groups’ representative (Peter Brotherton), a representative from Terminals, and technical advisers from the Police and the State Emergency Services. Other key organisations such as the Fire Brigade and the local Councils will be involved on a needs basis. The Sub-Committee will consider all aspects of emergency management affecting Coode Island and the surrounding community, and will make recommendations to CICCC.

The Emergency Management Plans prepared by Councils must cover any emergency which may arise in the municipality, and are rather general. The CICCC Sub-Committee will lobby for the development of a separate Coode Island Emergency Management Plan, that will focus on managing any future emergency event at Coode Island, and keeping the community up to date with information and advice for their safety and well being.

The Victorian WorkCover Authority plays a critical role in the regulation of Coode Island, as it establishes the health and safety regulatory framework. WorkCover made a presentation on the development of enhanced operational and legislative approaches to major hazard facilities. Draft legislation based on National Standards is being prepared, and WorkCover will have a document for public consultation available shortly.

WorkCover believes that companies must take more responsibility for their own health and safety performance, and must have in place appropriate internal management systems including the regular monitoring and auditing of all aspects of the operation and management of their plants.

“This approach is not self-regulation” said Matthew Wylie of WorkCover. “Sites will still be subject to audits and other compliance measures by WorkCover, but we will also require Companies to demonstrate that they are policing their own performance as well.”

The CICCC will be provided with copies of the consultation document as soon as it is released, and will make comment to WorkCover on the draft regulations. Members of the CICCC will attend the next WorkCover audit at the Terminals plant at Coode Island, which is expected in about three months.

Copies of the recent EPA audit of Acrylate Storage and Handling at Terminals Coode Island site were distributed at the meeting, and the findings will be discussed at the next meeting. Discussions between EPA and Terminals will commence soon on a new EPA licence for Terminals’ Coode Island site. The licence will require both short and long term improvements in their emission requirements to bring Terminals into full compliance with all relevant Victorian State Environmental Protection Policies.

The next meeting of the CICCC is on Thursday 22 July, at the Maribyrnong Municipal Offices at the corner of Napier and Hyde Streets, Footscray at 6:15 for 6:30 pm. Members of the community are most welcome to attend.