Page 4172 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 21 September 2011

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MR HANSON: Yes. What has been the federal health minister’s response to your representations about the unfair targets?

MS GALLAGHER: I am happy to table the letter she provided in response to my letter by the close of business today and you can all read it for yourselves.

Mitchell—chemical fire

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services and is in relation to your statement yesterday about the Mitchell fire. Minister, on page 8 of your statement you said that when the EPA undertook its annual review of the ESI facility in May 2011 they requested that ESI update their hazop plan, the water management and the waste management plan. Minister, why were these updates required and what did they involve?

MR CORBELL: I am not privy to the details of those matters. These are now the subject of a detailed investigation by the Environment Protection Authority, who will produce their report in due course.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary question.

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, as there is a significant amount of liquid and solid waste to be removed from the site, what proportion of this liquid and solid waste is likely to be contaminated, what is the nature of the contamination, and exactly where and how will the material be disposed of?

MR CORBELL: It is the case that there is a significant amount of destroyed material at the site. The complexities of managing this site should not be underestimated. WorkSafe ACT have currently indicated that no-one should enter the site because the structure itself is unsafe—that is, the partially destroyed building—and that the building could collapse further and is a risk to anyone entering the site. This is obviously hindering the capacity of relevant authorities at this stage to fully determine the extent of contamination on the site, because no-one can physically enter the site. These issues are being further discussed between WorkSafe ACT, the Environment Protection Authority, the ACT Fire Brigade and ACT Policing as to the best way to approach these circumstances.

The costs associated with the demolition and remediation of the site are the responsibility of the property owner, and those matters will be pursued with the property owner. The polluter-pays principle applies in relation to this matter, and so, therefore—

Ms Le Couteur: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, the minister has not yet addressed the issues of liquid and solid waste.

MR CORBELL: Well, I do not know whether Ms Le Couteur was listening, Mr Speaker, but I just said we cannot get in the building, so if we cannot get in the building because the building is unsafe, we cannot determine what the quantities are in exact detail at this time.

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