Greater Sydney Commission Major Hazard Facilities & 3 Ports SEPP

Planning Forum 2012 with Brad Hazzard and Sarah Hill

Planning Forum 2012 with Brad Hazzard and Sarah Hill

There are two reports on the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) website commissioned to inform the GSC’s planning strategy.

Industrial Precinct Review – Hill PDA 

Sydney Strategic Centres Barriers to Growth (Urbis)      

There is no discussion in either of these about the heightened sensitivity around Major Hazard Facilities and the movement of dangerous goods.   In the Hill report (signed off by the CEO of the Greater Sydney Commission Sarah Hill) reference is made to Banksmeadow being able to accommodate a waste transfer facility.  The Veolia proposal was made in 2013 and approved in April 2015.  This report was finalised in August 2015.  In some of the tables the 3 Ports SEPP is not listed when it should be.  The Urbis report is no better with regard to detailing the sensitive nature of the area and need for buffers.

In 2013 after a fire at Meadow Way an extraordinary meeting of the Orica CPRC was held.  Representatives from Emergency Services attended including Commander McCarthy.  Minutes were placed on the Orica website after they were sighted by the personnel involved.  They are also here 

As you can read in this extract the community were expecting an Emergency App to be developed.

Chantal Snell quoting the Chief Scientist’s statement about unacceptable risk for the storage of HCB said she thought the risk needed to be better understood. Chantal was concerned that information could be withheld for security reasons even though the community had a right to know. In an emergency situation the community needed to know who to contact so that unnecessary panic could be avoided. Paul Bailey said he heard the concerns. Peter Sangster said he thoroughly agreed with Chantal. Brian Shaw said he was hearing what he thought was mass confusion and that there should be a central point of contact not a list of different numbers. Karen McCarthy said that emergencies had to reach a certain level before alerts were activated. The Police have been working on an app and the companies on the BIP have provided some funding for it. 

 Subsequent to the Meadow Way fire there was a major spill at nearby Caltex. The significance of that incident is captured here   Not long after there was a major fire at the Amcor/Orora paper mill.  There have been other incidents including a fire at Vopak, flares etc. that were not emergencies.  When incidents occur neighbors are not aware which are going to turn into dangerous situations. They don’t know what alarms and alerts are in place and because of the cluster of industries often don’t know from where an alarm is coming.   Discussions take place on various facebook pages about the confusion.  Phone calls are made to community members who sit on local industry committees and those members ring whomever they think might be able to help.  There’s no coordination with the public during events but even more importantly there is no education as to what events might occur let alone exercises involving community.  The Botany Industrial Park companies issue a detailed brochure but neither it nor the one from Botany Command is engaging and there’s been no research on the effectiveness of such ‘communication’.

The App was supposed to help plug one of the communication gaps.  Since 2013 community members have patiently waited for it to appear and when enquiries have been made have been told that it is coming, albeit slowly.  At the November meeting of the Port Botany Community Consultative Committee NSW Ports staff informed the meeting that the App was not going to happen.    At the December meeting of the Botany Industrial Park (BIP) Community Consultative Committee it was reported that the App  had been put on hold.  At the follow up meeting of the BIP on 23 March 2016  the meeting was told that enquiries had been made after receiving information from the Ports meeting and it was true that the App would not go ahead.  It was even doubtful whether the $25,000 contributed by companies at the BIP would be refunded.
Is it bad for sales of commercial property to be discussing risk in this region?  The Bunnings development , the cancellation of the App and now no attempt to advise community of alternatives and now the GSC reports.  Are residents concerned about the risk  and inappropriate development simply considered ‘whingers’ as per Sarah Hill’s comments at a Planning Forum in 2012:

Community empowerment was a key issue about conflict resolution about engagement about hearing the 90% of the community that aren’t whinging who are actually supportive.


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