15 June 2004
The Hon John Brumby, MP
Minister for State and Regional Development
Level 4, 1 Treasury Place
Proposal to store Butadiene at Coode Island
At its meeting on 10 June 2004, the Committee expressed concern at the possibility of Butadiene, a highly toxic, extremely flammable gas, being stored under pressure at Coode Island. DOW Chemical (Aust) Ltd has sought tenders from Terminals and Marstel for storage of a large quantity of Butadiene, following the decision by Qenos at Altona to cease making the chemical. Members strongly supported the action of the City of Maribyrnong, which opposed Butadiene storage at Coode Island.
George Horman, Australian General Manager for Terminals confirmed that his company had submitted a tender based on storage at its Geelong facility, He explained that the Geelong site had adequate room for tank separation, and had adequate buffers from the nearest residential areas. Butadiene transport to industry in Altona from the Geelong facility would not involve trips through residential areas.
The Committee resolved to write to you, stating its concern and calling on the Government to undertake an integrated environmental and safety study prior to further consideration of the proposal. It is essential that before any approvals are given, full consultation is undertaken with the community based on a clear understanding of the safety issues, which can only come following a quantified risk assessment.”
Butadiene storage poses hazards much greater than those posed by other chemicals stored at Coode Island. Butadiene is a gas at normal temperatures and pressures. In the event of a release of product, or a rupture of a tank, the potential exists for the formation of a cloud of highly flammable gas. The potential for explosions and fires, with great risk to neighbouring communities, is unacceptable.
The government’s strategy for Melbourne, Melbourne 2030, aims to promote denser development in existing activity centres, to improve community safety, and to ensure sustainability. Significant urban development has occurred, and will continue to be developed, at Docklands and along the Maribyrnong River waterfront immediately opposite Coode Island. Such development is incompatible with the introduction of new risks at Coode Island.