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Parliamentary Questions

Question On Notice No. 1980 asked in the Legislative Council on 4 March 2010 by Hon Lynn Maclaren

Question Directed to the: Minister for Environment
Minister responding: Hon D.E.M. Faragher
Parliament: 38 Session: 1
Tabled Paper No: 1948

I refer to the operations of Cockburn Cement, and ask -
(1) Have any epidemiological studies been completed for the Cockburn Cement airshed?

(2) If yes to (1), will you table the studies?

(3) If no to (2), why not?

(4) Are these symptoms associated with Chromium poisoning?

(5) Does the Government assume responsibility for human health monitoring and response in areas of heavy industry?

(6) Can the Minister confirm that scrubbers could be used by Cockburn Cement to remove all heavy metals from its emissions?

(7) If no to (6), why not?

(8) What is the reason Cockburn Cement are not using scrubbers?

(9) Can the Minister confirm that Cockburn Cement have commenced trialling the burning of hazardous waste as an alternative source of energy, including the burning of used tyres and recycled oil?

(10) If yes to (9), on what date did the trials begin?

(11) If the trials have not commenced, on what date have Cockburn Cement informed your agency that they intend to commence such trials?

(12) How are the potential health effects of this proposal (or trial) being assessed?

(13) Can the Minister update us on the current activities of the Environmental Management Division’s Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG)?

(14) Who are the members and what are the terms of reference of the SRG?

(15) Can the Minister table all reports and reviews the SRG has submitted to the Department of Environment and Conservation?

(16) If no to (15), why not?

(17) When was the last time (SRG) met and how regularly was it meeting until then?

(18) Why isn’t this group meeting currently?

(19) Can the Minister summarise and table the auditor’s results?

(20) If no to (19), why not?

Answered on 21 April 2010

(1) - (5) These questions should be referred to the Minister for Health.

(6) - (8) The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has advised me that wet scrubbers can be used on lime processes but, if used, they will lead to an additional liquid effluent requiring disposal.

I understand that Cockburn Cement Limited (CCL) currently has electrostatic precipitators on all kilns. I have been advised by DEC that this is a recognised abatement technology for dust and heavy metals and that there is no technology available which will remove all dust and heavy metals from emissions. 

 (9) - (12) I am aware that CCL has referred a proposal to burn recycled fuel oil at its Munster facility to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). This proposal was determined by the EPA on 24 February 2010 to be "Not assessed - public advice - managed under Part V Works Approval". The appeal period closed on 15 March and the Appeals Convenor is currently investigating the appeals received. To date, CCL has not submitted a proposal to the EPA to burn used tyres.

I have been advised that CCL has not submitted a works approval application to DEC to burn recycled fuel oil at its Munsterfacility. 

 (13) DEC has advised me that the Stakeholder Reference Group meets periodically and its role is primarily to discuss policies and strategies that will shape environmental regulation and enforcement in this State over the next five years. The group contributes to DEC's sustainable industry functions, particularly in respect of industry regulation, waste management and contaminated sites.

Most recently, I understand that DEC has consulted the Stakeholder Reference Group on DEC's proposed review of the Environmental Protection (Controlled Waste) Regulations 2004.

(14) Membership of the Stakeholder Reference Group includes representatives from the following:

- Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA;

- Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA;

- Conservation Council of WA; and

- members appointed on the basis of their knowledge and experience (but not representative of any particular organisation), including the following sectors:

o local government;

o community;

o industry;

o small - medium enterprises;

o environmental law; and

o environmental consulting.

 I table the Terms of Reference and seek leave to have this information incorporated into Hansard.

 (15) - (16)The Stakeholder Reference Group does not provide formal reports and reviews to DEC. However, minutes of its meetings are kept.

 (17) The last meeting of the SRG was on 25 September 2009. The SRG meets on a needs basis, and had previously met on 27 February 2009.

 (18) The date of the next meeting is yet to be determined, and will depend on the availability of policy or strategic issues that require advice from the SRG to DEC.

 (19) - (20) I am not aware of which audit results this question refers to. 
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