Public comment period on the Terminals’ upgrade proposal commences 9 August 2000
The EPA has advised that the Works Approval application received from Terminals Pty Ltd for the proposed upgrade of their Coode Island bulk liquid chemical facility has been accepted. It will now be subjected to detailed scrutiny, and to a process of public review and comment. The EPA public exhibition period runs from 9 August to 30 August 2000.
Submissions of the Works Approval application should be made in writing, and provided to EPA by 30 August 2000. Copies of the complete Works Approval application can be viewed from 9 August at the Footscray and North Melbourne libraries, at the EPA’s office in The Herald and Weekly Times Building, 40 City Road, Southbank, and at Terminals’ office at Coode Island. Copies of Volume 1 are also available from libraries at West Footscray, Kingsville, Flemington and Williamstown. A few copies are available at the Footscray library for short-term loan. The Works Approval application may also be viewed at Terminals’ web site "www.terminalspl.com.au".
Following the Coode Island explosion and fires in 1991, the Victorian Government had agreed to move the Terminals bulk liquid hazardous chemical storage away from Coode Island, which is less than one kilometre from residences. Earlier this year the new Government confirmed the decision taken in 1999 to leave the Terminals facility at Coode Island, and to grant long term leases to Terminals Pty Ltd. The proposed upgrade will fulfil part of that decision package, to improve environmental health and safety aspects associated with the facility.
The CICCC believes that the proposed upgrade is a critical event in the history of the facility, and that public awareness of the limited opportunity for public comment is essential. While acknowledging the consultation undertaken by Terminals in the preparation of the Works Approval application, the CICCC believes that the 21 day period set by EPA for public comment is extremely short, given the complexity of the issue. The CICCC notes with concern that there is no statutory provision for a public comment process to either the Department of Infrastructure in relation to planning approval, or to WorkCover under the Major Hazard Facility and Dangerous Goods legislation and approvals. The EPA process, confined as it is to pollution and environmental issues, and limited as it is in time, remains the only process available to the public for comment that must be considered by the approving authorities.
Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 4 August 2000