CICCC Update—27 July 2000 Meeting

At its meeting on 27 July 2000, the CICCC focussed on two longstanding issues.

The first concerns the gap between the community’s first awareness and anxiety about a potential incident (triggered by say a siren at a hazardous facility), and the possible response by Emergency Services. There will often be no response, if the siren is a false alarm, or if the incident does not pose any threat to the community. However if there is a genuine emergency, it will take some time for emergency response information to be communicated to the public.

The Committee believes this information gap is intolerable, particularly since it has been raised at every forum since 1991.

Peter Reddie, General Manager of Terminals, told the Committee of his initiative with other operators in the Footscray area. He intends to work with Radio 3WRB, so that as soon as a siren or other alarm is sounded, 3WRB will be told what is happening, and will broadcast information to residents.

The CICCC’s Emergency Management Sub Committee will actively pursue this initiative, and work to get the support of Municipalities, the Plastic and Chemical Industry, and Emergency Services.

Commander Trevor Perkins of the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board said he acknowledge the need for the emergency information gap to be bridged. “We will support the CICCC to improve early advice to residents”, he said.

The second issue concerns the provision of independent advice to the Committee on the “worst case scenario” at Coode Island. This CICCC initiative has been on hold while the Committee has been grappling with the Terminals upgrade plans. Now that the EPA Works Approval application has been lodged, and Terminals will turn to the safety issues regulated by WorkCover, it is essential that we get an independent review of the “worst case scenario”. CICCC’s Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Sub Committee has been requested to pursue this issue as a matter of urgency.

A further issue discussed at the July 27 meeting was Terminals’ plans for upgrading sites B and C, south of the new redevelopment on the former BP site at Coode Island and on the western side of Mackenzie Road. The existing tanks will be completely re-engineered, with extensive work to jack up the tanks to replace the floors, renew the foundations, put in new pipework and automatic controls, seal the bunded areas, and manage storm water to minimise waste-water from the site.

The Committee was surprised to learn that the “best practice” at Site A, where every tank will front a road to facilitate fire fighting, will not be implemented at Sites B and C. Terminals advised that those tanks not fronting roads at Sites B and C would generally contain less hazardous materials.

The next CICCC meeting will be held on Thursday 10 August. 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, 1 August 2000