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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1936..


Fireworks

MS GALLAGHER: My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations, Mr Corbell. Can the minister advise the Assembly on the outrageous claims of the ACT Fireworks Association relating to the Mugga Lane WorkCover depot?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Gallagher for this very important question. Members may or may not be aware that the ACT Fireworks Association has issued what it calls a community service announcement to residents in Red Hill, Narrabundah, Isaacs and O'Malley, warning them of, in its words, "a potential bomb site near your homes".

This would have to be one of the most irresponsible campaigns I have ever seen since I have been a member of this place. In the press release that the ACT Fireworks Association released today, it claims:

ACT WorkCover stores its confiscated pyrotechnics in what could amount to the explosive equivalent of a 100 tonne bomb. The storage facility fails every national and international safety measure.

The Fireworks Association goes on to claim that this is a similar situation, and could result in a similar outcome, to that which produced the explosion in Enschede in the Netherlands, in which 22 people were killed. These claims are absolutely outrageous and they are wrong. I think the ACT fireworks industry has a lot to answer for in making such scurrilous and incorrect assertions about ACT WorkCover's practices.

ACT WorkCover maintains a facility for the storage of fireworks at Mugga Lane. The facility is located on a quarry site. The facility at Mugga Lane differs considerably from the facility that exploded in Enschede in the Netherlands. That facility was a fireworks manufacturing factory and, not surprisingly, the explosion that occurred there was a very serious incident.

The facility at Mugga Lane is for the storage of fireworks, not for the manufacture of fireworks, which I think would have been plain to absolutely anybody who had looked at it closely. Based on the classification marked on the fireworks, it has been determined that the fireworks stored at Mugga Lane are of a class that is not a mass explosion hazard. They can therefore be stored at that facility. It is one of a number of facilities maintained by ACT WorkCover. WorkCover uses these facilities to store fireworks that are considered to be safe in that area. WorkCover has other facilities to store fireworks that are considered to be of higher risk.

Fireworks stored in the facility are in shipment containers, and in most cases they are stored in containers in which the owners of the fireworks stored them and in which they were seized. It is quite outrageous for the fireworks industry to claim that WorkCover is storing fireworks in an unsafe manner, when they are stored in exactly the same manner as those fireworks operators themselves are storing them, in a legal way.

The fireworks within the containers are stored in appropriate packaging and the fireworks themselves are located within a secure compound, which is located within a secure site. It is interesting that, in the circular that the Fireworks Association has distributed, it has


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