What Type of Industry? Print E-mail
Submitted on 09/02/2010
Overview 30/01/2010
As you know, following our reporting on the East Wanneroo Structure Plan (EWSP), CREW has been trying to obtain a credible answer from government about the type of industry that will or wont be allowed on the proposed South Pinjar Industrial Site. This has been an on going saga and those who have followed our inquiries about industry in relation to the Government's East Wanneroo Structure Plan will share our frustration in this matter.

Despite repeated requests from the Department of Planning for clarification on what industry will or won't be allowed to operate on land zoned “Special Industrial” as per the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, answers have not been given.

What We Do Know
The Industrial Land Strategy document uses the term “Special Industrial” but there is no glossary of terms explaining the term, despite it being part of the legend in the Metropolitan Region Scheme (MRS). After many phone calls to the Department of Planning, talking to junior and senior employees, no one would/could clarify what type of industry is or is not allowed on “special industrial” sites.

In the Industrial Land Strategy 2009 document the government proposes six new industrial sites, and states that all sites are suited for general industrial land uses, and two also for special industrial usage. The document says that special industrial land usage requires buffers of 1 kilometers plus from residential and special rural areas, due to emissions/discharges, smells and noise. Given this, it is logical to conclude that special industry is a heavier class of industry than general industry. This point is further supported by the fact that there is no mention of such buffer requirements for the four industrial sites (Whiteman, Forrestdale, Baldivis or Bullsbrook) that are not earmarked for accommodating special industry but deemed as suitable for general industrial use.

Update 3/02/2010
CREW has finally received a reply from the Department of Planning on the issue of “Special Industry” being allowed to operate on the proposed South Pinjar industrial site.

In their email they have told CREW that:

“the mention of the Special Industry in the text of the Industrial Land Strategy document, as it relates to the South Pinjar site was incorrectly included and that there is no intention to include noxious industry at this site or any other sites in the ILS and that this anomaly will be corrected, (ie reference to Special Industry will be deleted) in the final strategy”. They are now saying that only light and general industry will be allowed on this site.

In other words CREW was right when it claimed that, according to the ILS document a heavier class of industry than general industry was planned for the proposed South Pinjar industrial site.

They have also told us that the buffers required for “Special Industry” will no longer be required. As we understand it, a one kilometre is the minimum size buffer required for special industry.

This means that industries which require less than a one Kilometer buffer will be still be allowed to operate within the proposed South Pinjar industrial site. Buffers are required for industry that generate gas emissions, and/or noise, and/or dust, and/or odour, and/or pose a health health from predicted emissions under normal operations. The government has made it clear to CREW that industries which store and manufacture toxic polluting substances will still be allowed to operate in South Pinjar.

In other words, industries that store and manufacture toxic polluting substances and require less than a 1000 meter buffer to operate (general industry), will be allowed on this site.

Examples of industries that require less than a one kilometre buffer to operate are:

Calcium-based compounds production, other than lime - calcium compounds are produced, mixed, blended or packaged; 500 to 1000 meter buffer (depends on size) is required due to the gases, noise, dust , odour they generate and the health risk they pose from predicted emissions under normal operations.

Chemical blending or mixing - chemicals or chemical products are blended, mixed or packaged; 300 to 1000 meter buffer is required (depends on size) due to the gases, noise, dust, odour they generate and the health risk they pose from predicted emissions under normal operations.

Chemical manufacturing - chemical products are manufactured by a chemical process; 300 to 1000 meter buffer is required (depends on size) due to the gases, noise, dust and odour they generate and the health risk they pose from predicted emissions under normal operations.

Chemical or oil recycling - waste liquid hydrocarbons or chemicals are refined, purified, reformed, separated or processed; 500 to 1000 meter buffer is required (depends on size) due to the gases and odour they generate and the health risk they pose from predicted emissions under normal operations.

Pesticides manufacturing - herbicide, insecticide or pesticide manufacture by a chemical process; 500 to 1000 meter buffer is required (depends on size) due to the gases, noise, dust, odour they generate and the health risk they pose from predicted emissions under normal operations.

Industry and Buffers
See for yourself click on this link to view information on industry and buffers. Information on the required buffers for industry can be found in Appendix C of the document.
http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/docs/1024_GS34.pdf
So you see general industry is not benign and can become a real health problem for residents and the environment especially when things go wrong. This will be obvious to you by now with the video information posted on this site about the Binary industrial fire in Narangba, Queensland.


Government Credibility/Honesty in Question

Even if they do take “Special Industry” off the final draft of the ILS document, who could say that they won't put it back on the agenda again in another proposal three years down the track (after the site has been rezoned and approved for general industry), Yes they would go through the ritual of publishing a document for public comment and thereby comply with their legal obligation, leave a small window of time for public comment and let as few people know as possible, the same course they took in relation to the ILS document and the East Wanneroo Structure Plan.

What do you think, should we now trust what they are saying? Was stating that they were going to site Special Industrial activity on the Proposed South Pinjar site really a mistake? Or are they now claiming it was a mistake because what they have written is now illuminated under the CREW spotlight and is becoming a little too hot to handle?

CREW had repeatedly asked senior employees in the state Planning Department what type of industry (in relation to special Industry as laid out in the ILS) would be allowed on the South Pinjar site and received no answer until now. Residents attending the government's information sessions asked that same question, but no one could or would give them a credible answer.

Why not tell us it was a mistake back in early January, when the question was first raised about “Special Industry” being placed on the proposed “South Pinjar “ industrial site? We wonder what else will come to light under the blowtorch of public scrutiny.

Is the government openly lying in regards to what they have written in the ILS? This is a question residents have asked CREW after reading the following.

Hazardous and offensive industries that manufacture and store toxic polluting substances WILL be allowed to operate on this site, provided the amount they store and manufacture is not deemed “a significant quantity” (what amount quantifies significant?) CREW. The government’s exact words on this (government speak page 29) “No hazardous or offensive industries will be permitted, industries that manufacture, use or store significant quanti¬ties of toxic or polluting substances will not be allowed within the development”.

The terms “hazardous industry” and “offensive industry” are industrial terms, and when used in a document like the ILS to inform the general public, but lacking a glossary to explain terms (there is no glossary of terms in the ILS) the real meanings are easily misunderstood.

“Hazardous” means involving risk or danger. So it could be inferred that no industry that manufactures substances that could pose a risk or danger to the health of people or the environment will be allowed on this site.

Well no, what they are saying is that under normal operating conditions and after taking into account the buffers from residential areas, no industry will be allowed that poses a significant risk to human health and and the health of the environment.

In other words if emissions from a factory one kilometre away was deemed to pose a significant health risk to residents under normal operating conditions it would be considered hazardous. However that same industry could be considered a non hazardous industry when placed one and a half kilometres from residential areas. Meaning, if the government believed that the industry in question no longer posed a significant risk to human health under normal operating conditions (when placed an extra half kilometre away from residential land) then it would be classified as non- hazardous.

This logic also applies to the term “offensive industries”. In the context this term is used in the ILS document the word offensive means – offensive, unpleasant or disgusting especially to the senses due to the noise, and/or odour and/or dust discharged under normal operating conditions. So in other words, if the smell from a factory's emissions was not considered significantly offensive under normal operating conditions one kilometre away, then it would be classed as a non-offensive industry. However that same industry could be termed offensive when placed 500 meters away if under normal operating conditions its offensive nature was deemed significant by government.

Remember the term “normal operating conditions”. “Normal operating conditions” does not include the danger posed by fires and other types of industrial accidents caused by many things including: human error, crime and local bushfires.



Bellevue industrial Fire February 2001 (in Perth near Midland)

If we scrutinise another major industrial accident, also a fire that happened right here in WA in the City of Swan (Bellevue) the case against placing industry on a P1 water area of the Gnangara Mound is further strengthened.

In the Environmental protection authorities final report on this industrial fire they state:

“The investigation programme has shown soil and groundwater contamination is present beneath the Waste Control Site. However, groundwater contamination is likely to also be migrating off-site across three of the four site boundaries in two different aquifer systems. In addition, it is possible that groundwater contamination extends below the depth of investigation conducted to date in the regional water table aquifer.”

Click on the link to view full report:
http://portal.environment.wa.gov.au/pls/portal/docs/
PAGE/DOE_ADMIN/TECH_REPORTS_REPOSITORY/TAB1146239/DETAILED_SITE_INVESTIGATION.PDF


“A breakdown in health and safety standards caused the fire at Bellevue Waste Control, a Parliamentary Inquiry has found."

Inquiry chairman Tony McRae tabled the second and final report into the toxic fire, saying that the situation at Waste Control was evidence that waste management operators and governments did not understand the economic, social and environmental risks associated with the industry.

There was a “systemic breakdown in the standards and systems intended to protect human and environmental health and safety," Mr McRae said...”


ABC Four Corners

Click on link to view full transcript:
http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/s479641.htm

“the first issue I identified is that the definition of hazardous industries is not uniform across local government”.

“It appears that the guidelines under which the DEP operate when making assessments are a bit vague. The information it receives from local government about applications is also of various standards. It is very difficult for it to make an authoritative assessment”

“A further issue is that local government often approves a category - industrial or commercial use - without knowing what industry will be within those premises”

“A hazardous industry could be set up in a building without local government knowledge”.

Mr Erceg - Manager, Development Services, City of Swan talking to the Economics and industry standing committee in relation to the Bellevue industrial fire.

Click link to view full transcript:
http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/parliament/commit.nsf/%28Evidence+Lookup+by+Com+ID%29/6CED957B373BDD2348256AD4000E69D3/$file/eisc1008.8.pdf

Given the environmental problems caused by this fire you would think that things would have been set right by 2009, well according to a local resident group called the “Alliance for a Clean Environment” the government hasn't. We suggest residents contact them to hear their story.

Click on the link for contact details and read their story and contact details.
http://www.ace-wa.org/news.php


The potential of factory fires in the South Pinjar industrial Estate

The government may try to assure us that they will put safeguards in to protect residents from the threat of toxic fires blowing over the surrounding suburbs or the water mound from being polluted by accidental spills. Apart from the fact such safeguards are unproven – mistakes happen – just like the oil rig fire and oil spill in the East Timor sea last year. Let us remember there is only one Gnangara Mound! Besides being a particularly pure source of drinking water it's the major water supply of Perth.

The proposed industrial site is situated to the west and south of bushland (bush forever sites). This means that it is more at risk of being involved in a fire than other industrial sites. When the east wind blows in summer, like it did last summer when lightening strikes set fire to bushland, the bush surrounding the proposed industrial site will be an even greater fire hazard because the industrial site could go up like a volcano. Residents know all to well how many times the bush in this area catches alight.

With the hazards of fire from human error, arson and normal bush fires – who in their right mind would situate an industrial estate on the South Pinjar site, alongside a primary school and surrounding suburbs – all right in the line of fire!

Given all this, CREW has concluded that the best way to ensure that Perth's drinking water within the Gnangara Mound remains a quality asset for the people of Perth and future generations is to;
• say no to industry on a P1 water area of the Gnangara Mound.
• work with residents to find some eco - friendly use of the land that will not only protect the purity of the water beneath it but also add to the economic prosperity and quality of life for the residents of Wanneroo.

Say “no” to placing industry on the priority one public drinking resource area of the Gnangara Mound.

Remember politicians spend big money on crafting their image and message, they want to stay in power. When enough residents act in concert, politicians sober up and listen. A continuous pro active stance needs to taken by residents until the motion to put industry on the South Pinjar site is defeated in parliament. Be active, if joining CREW does not appeal to you then you can subscribe to our newsletter so that we can email you the latest news. You only need give an email address and its free. If you don't want polluting industry near your suburb or on the water mound then remember to put in a submission to the Planning Department before March 12th.

We want government to take notice, listen and make decisions that are for the good of the whole of the community and not developers, big business and their lobbyists.

 

Environmental Quote

"Let every individual and institution now think and act as a responsible trustee of Earth, seeking choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will provide a sustainable future, eliminate pollution, poverty and violence, awaken the wonder of life and foster peaceful progress in the human adventure."

— John McConnell, founder of International Earth Day

Social Quote

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Australian social scientist, quoted by Noam Chomsky in World Orders Old and New

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