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CICCC Update—8 December 2005 Meeting

Terminals Pty Ltd record of ‘lost time’ through accidents on site

At the CICCC meeting on 8 December 2005, Terminals Pty Ltd reported, amongst other things, that no worker on the Terminals Coode Island site had sustained an injury requiring them to take time off work since February 2000. Considering that Terminals has completely upgraded the site, consolidating it on the west side of Mackenzie Road, and remediating the former east side site, during this period at a cost of about $25 million, it is an outstanding safety record.

Terminals Carcinogenic Licence

When materials that are carcinogenic are stored or handled, WorkSafe requires that operators have a “Licence to use a scheduled carcinogenic substance’. Terminals no longer stores acrylonitrile, and the carcinogenic licence for that material was rescinded last year.

The five-year carcinogenic licence for benzene expired on 29 November 2005. Although benzene is not presently stored at the Terminals facility, Pygas containing 60% benzene will stored next year, when the tanks presently under construction are commissioned. Terminals are seeking a renewal of the licence.

The licence contains three conditions, requiring adherence to specified systems of work and procedures, and requiring a written report of any incident where human exposure to benzene occurs.

EPA study of pollution in the Maribyrnong River.

Further to the preliminary information provided by EPA at the October CICCC meeting, Quentin Cooke advised that Dr Peter Nadebaum of GHD to conduct the overarching audit of the Lower Maribyrnong River, the Lower Yarra River and Stony Creek Backwash. Consultation through a Lower Maribyrnong Audit Reference Group (LMARG) has commenced, and two meetings have been held.

The LMARG comprises a range of representatives from industry, Councils (Maribyrnong and Hobson Bay) and government agencies (EPA, Parks Victoria and POMC). Community members Colleen Hartland, Andrew Clifton and Michael Isaachsen have been appointed, and other community representatives will be considered. The LMARG is chaired by Professor John Carey from Victoria University.

The scope of the LMARG is to build on the work EPA has required companies to do to clean up the river, with a focus on providing even better knowledge of the level of contamination. About $200,000 has been provided for the audit, and a similar amount will be spent on fish and sediment sampling.

Maribyrnong City Council Report

Theo Pykoulas told the Committee of recent grants to Council from Emergency Management Australia, including $60,000, to develop a management tool to assist those managing the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse communities in evacuation/relief centres in an emergency and $43,000 for Community awareness strategies targeted at people from similar backgrounds to access the emergency services.

Theo also advised that the trial of the Community Warning Information System had won a ‘Safer Community Award’. Committee members were critical of the lack of progress made in moving from the trial to implementing an on-going emergency warning system. While Council was to be congratulated for pioneering the automatic telephone messaging system to potentially affected residents in an emergency, there is a need to continue the momentum to ensure a workable system is implemented as soon as possible.

Theo has now explained the next steps to explore options, including the need to observe privacy requirements, and to avoid a system that relies on the manual updating of a large data-base, as follows:

  1. Obtain the computer system that automatically down loads all telephone numbers in a specified geographic area.
  2. Ensure compatibility of the system with Council’s computer system.
  3. Test the system to ensure its functionality.
  4. Determine the cost of implementing the system, the ongoing maintenance costs, and the availability of funds to cover these costs.

Step (a) has already been taken, and the next steps will be followed up in the New Year.

Next meeting of the CICCC

The next meeting of the CICCC will be held on Thursday 16 December 2005 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm. A joint meeting of the CICCC and the Marstel Community Group will be held on 9 February, to explore options for closer working relationships.

Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 9 December 2005.