Note: CICCC would appreciate the cooperation of media staff in publicising the CICCC web site ( in any story that is run.

CICCC Update—4 August 2005 Meeting

Marstel Community Liaison Group members attend CICCC meeting

Several community members of the Marstel CLG accepted the invitation of CICCC to attend its meeting on 4 August 2005, and the site inspection prior to the meeting. The invitation was a response to reports that the MCG had expressed some concerns about standards and regulatory treatment of the two facilities.

Andrew Clifton, an MCG community member, summarised these concerns as follows:

  • Will Terminals’ facility be of the same quality as the new Marstel facility?
  • Does the Terminals’ relocation and re-use of old tanks prejudice safety?
  • Are the Terminals’ tanks safely bunded to contain spills?
  • Is groundwater adequately protected against leaking tanks?
  • Is Terminals still using old technology?
  • Are the regulators applying the same standards to both facilities?

During discussions that lasted over an hour at the meeting, a brief overview of the improvements undertaken by Terminals over the past three years (in particular) was provided, with input from Terminals, regulators and CICCC community members. Work remains to be done to improve the bunds, and this will not be completed in advance of the final move of east side tanks to the west side, and their complete refurbishment.

Having said that, in other respects the Terminals facility has been brought up to the very highest standards, and has met the requirements of the regulatory authorities. Terminals have spent over $20 million in this period, and significant further funds are allocated to complete the task. Every tank has been exhaustively tested and repaired as necessary. Complete new automated control and monitoring systems have been installed, new combustors now reduce fugitive emissions to a fraction of their former levels, and new tanker filling facilities are either in use or under construction.

Although the Terminals facility may compare unfavourably with the Marstel facility aesthetically (the Marstel plant is, and looks, brand new), Terminals’ “runs on the board” are reflected in its Accredited Licence status with EPA, a status that requires three years of exemplary environmental management to gain.

Quentin Cooke of the EPA advised that the upgrading “is happening at the maximum rate possible to achieve the same standards as Marstel.”

The MCG members declared that they were “enlightened by what has been done”.

CICCC members were pleased to have the opportunity to interact with the Marstel MCG representatives, and to understand their concerns. Theo Pykoulus, the City of Maribyrnong representative, asked Andrew to raise with the MCG the possibility of them inviting CICCC members to a site inspection of the Marstel facility, and to an MCG meeting.

In connection with suggestions of closer working of the two committees, Andrew pointed out that the focus of the MCG was to oversight the developmental phase of the new facility to the point of its obtaining an operating licence, so there would need to be a change in the mandate of the MCG before any formal merging of their functions were considered.

Ian Thomas, a CICCC Community Member, expressed his pleasure that MCG members had accepted the invitation to attend. “This is a terrific start to closer working relations between the two groups” he said. “We have common interests and if we work together we can better serve the community.”

Port Planning

The Committee heard that the Premier has [OE]scuttled’ the Melbourne Port Corporation’s Draft Port Environs Plan. Instead, a new public consultation forum under the chairmanship of local Footscray MP Bruce Mildenhall has been established.

The CICCC acknowledges the competing pressures for a vibrant urban community, a safe living and working environment for residents, and clarity in the planning system for both port operations and mixed use development.

The CICCC has been at the forefront in seeking better planning controls to get the mix right, and to protect the rights of all stakeholders to have a say on major developments. The CICCC will be seeking an active role in the new forum.

Pygas proposal

Terminals” Australian Managing Director George Horman told the meeting about some new business that Terminals had won. Qenos in Altona has changed the way it manufactures ethylene. As a result about 20,000 tonnes per annum of Pygas, a hydrocarbon mixture with 30% [^] 60% benzene content, will be a by-product. Qenos will sell the Pygas internationally, exporting it through Terminals’ Coode Island facility.

The Pygas (short for Pyrolysis Gasoline) is, like petrol, a flammable Class 3 chemical, and a known human carcinogen. It will be stored in two tanks to be relocated from the East side to Plant C West, with a total capacity of 3,000 tonnes. The tanks will be completely refurbished and provided with dual nitrogen blanketing, bottom cones to allow complete emptying, and provision for both vapour return to ship and connection to the combustors. The tanks will operate at 70 kpa gauge (i.e. above atmospheric pressure), equivalent of 1.7 times atmospheric pressure, or 10 psi, a third the pressure of a typical car tyre

On 20 July EPA advised that a Works Approval would not be required, in view of Terminals’ accredited licensee status. CICCC community members will thoroughly vet the Pygas proposal, and attended the Hazop study conducted on 5 August 2005.

Community members raised the issue of transport routes for tankers carrying Pygas from Altona to Coode Island, and sought reassurance from both Terminals and WorkSafe, that every effort would be made to ensure the freeway route was taken by carriers, to avoid the residential areas of Footscray. Further reporting of this aspect will be provided at CICCC’s next meeting in October.

Annual Environment/Improvement Report for 2004

The Annual Environment Improvement Report for 2004 was presented to the Committee by Geoff Millard, Terminals’ Australian Health Safety & Environment Manager. The report documents the high level of environmental management at the Coode Island facility, detailing the progressive improvement in all aspects of environmental improvement at the site. The Report has been posted to the CICCC web site (

Next meeting of the CICCC

The next meeting of the CICCC will be held on Thursday 13 October 2005 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm.

Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 8 August 2005