Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 2017) . . Page.. 3964 ..
Planning—dangerous substance storage
MS LAWDER: My question is to Minister for Planning and Land Management regarding the Planning and Development Bill 2017, passed yesterday. Minister, why has it taken six years since the Mitchell fire and four years since the Lloyd report for you to propose the changes to law to force Canberra’s warehouse owners to apply for development approvals to store large amounts of chemicals in their buildings?
MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Lawder for her question and note that there is a motion on the notice paper for this afternoon in regard to other matters of building safety. But I want to add that there has been quite a deal of work that the government has done from the review and the recommendations from that review into the Mitchell fire. Quite a number of actions have been taken in relation to ensuring safety for those buildings and those owners that actually store hazardous materials. There has been quite a lot of work within the EPSD directorate to audit the buildings and the owners that do that work.
Ms Lawder: On a point of order, Madam Speaker, as to relevance, the question was why it has taken six years to change the laws, not what may have taken place by the directorate in regard to safety. Why has it taken six years since the fire?
MADAM SPEAKER: I will ask the minister, in the time he has left, to come to that point please.
MR GENTLEMAN: Thank you, Madam Speaker. As I said, quite a lot of work has occurred in the lead-up to the legislation that we passed yesterday, supported by the Canberra Liberals and the Greens in this parliament, and that work needed to be done in the lead-up to the regulations that were changed yesterday for the Planning and Development Act to ensure that future planning takes into account hazardous materials and their storage.
MS LAWDER: Minister, do you know how many businesses currently store large quantities of dangerous substances in the ACT?
MR GENTLEMAN: My understanding is that around 800 lessees store hazardous materials or placard materials in the ACT. Work has been undertaken with the directorate, with WorkSafe ACT and, of course, Access Canberra to ensure that they store those materials in the correct manner. Each facility that is a placard facility that stores hazardous materials needs to ensure that they have a hazardous materials storage program and a register that is regularly attended by to Access Canberra.
MRS JONES: Minister, how will ACT Fire & Rescue know what substances they are dealing with if there were to be a chemical fire at such a site in Canberra today?
MR GENTLEMAN: ACT Fire & Rescue are aware of the placard amounts because they are on a register with ACT government that is supplied to ACT Fire & Rescue. Those amounts are also placarded out the front of the buildings. You would notice