Coode Island Committee Update
The CICCC had warned Government about “the gap” twelve months ago. At that time the Government had given assurances that there was no gap.
Ian Thomas stated that community safety would be better served by leaving the Propylene Oxide in its present location east of Mackenzie Road. Government rejected that option last year, saying its agreement to hand the land over to P&O Ports by 31 July 2004 was “unbreakable”. No explanation has been provided as to how the lease has now been extended.
The VCAT appeal by I F Thomas and family “called in”
The representative of the EPA advised the Committee that Planning Minister Mary Delahunty had “called in” the appeal by I F Thomas and family against the issue of the Works Approval to Marstel Pty Ltd by the EPA. Such appeals are normally heard by VCAT.
It appears that the appeal has been “called in” because of the strategic importance of the new plant, and the need to avoid delays with consequent widening of “the gap”.
Terminals’ Environment Improvement Plan (EIP)
George Horman tabled a very preliminary summary of the draft Environment Improvement Plan (EIP) required to be submitted to EPA by 1 June 2002. The plan sets out targets to be met over the next twelve years for environmental improvements to the plant. The main thrust is on improvements to be undertaken in the next three years. The Committee welcomed the measures outlined in the draft plan, which will provide a blue-print for monitoring the necessary improvements to the plant.
Community representatives recalled earlier discussion about the community’s role in the development of the EIP, and the need to cover safety and communication issues. The CICCC awaits the full draft of the EIP, and has called on EPA not to sign it off until there has been opportunity for Committee and community comment.
Sewerage provision at Coode Island stalled
The preliminary draft EIP alerted the Committee to the lack of progress so far on providing sewerage at Coode Island. $1 million was provided by Government for this work following a review in 1999. While the design has been done, the Committee was told that implementation has stalled over argument between City West Water and Melbourne Port Corporation about who is responsible for ongoing maintenance and ownership. The Committee was concerned that environmental improvements at Coode Island were being jeopardised by bureaucratic delays. Advice from Melbourne Ports Corporation and the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development since the meeting provides some hope that impediments to the sewer construction will be overcome.
The death of Ted Towson, Community Representative
The Committee paid tribute to the memory of Ted Towson, an inaugural community representative of the CICCC, who died in late April 2002. Ted was an outstanding community representative, and brought a wide knowledge and experience of the Port to the Committee. He personally had attended every audit of the plant since 1997. Ted is missed as a community representative, an expert, a colleague and a friend.
Next meeting of the CICCC
Agenda items for the June meeting of the CICCC include the further development of the Environment Improvement Plan, WorkSafe’s six monthly audit report, and the soil remediation test results. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting on Thursday 13th June 2002 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm.
Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 15 May 2002