In a search of the Randwick City Council website for a copy of the Emergency Management Plan I could only turn up a context paper. 

There was no link in the A-Z list of services at this site.

 I could find no link to the Local Randwick Emergency Management Committee, in contrast to the following:

 This is from Manly Council.

This is from Marrickville

This is what the City of Sydney offer residents, workers, visitors.

The suburbs of South Ward postcode – 2036 – contain 8 of the 42 Major Hazard Facilities in the NSW.  We are also in close proximity to other industrials which fall just below  the MHF threshold.  We also experience ‘weather events’ the most recent being a tornado – this link  provides a video of the one that hit La Perouse in August 2006. 

There is considerable interest, at least around South Ward, in emergency risk management, and Council does have responsibilities in planning and communication.

These issues were raised in an email to the Randwick City Council General Manager on 29 September 2010.  Below is the reply received today (9/11   2010):  Note that on November 5 a web page was created at this link but you still have to navigate through the section “A Sense of Community” to get to it.  There is still no link in the A-Z list of services at this site.  There are files on ‘what to do for a storm event’ but nothing on chemical spills and other scenarios that are possible in an area that contains 10 of the 42 Major Hazard Facilities in the State.(First photo above is a simulated Ignitable LNG Vapour Cloud – see more at this link).

File Ref:  F2010/08174

Doc No:  D01174474

I refer to your email of 29 September 2010 concerning emergency management planning information on Randwick City Council’s website.

We have prepared access to a range of material from our website, which will assist residents in their preparations for an emergency. It contains educative and informative processes to guide people in what they need to do to protect themselves.

The Randwick Local Emergency Management Committee convenes regularly and also conducts disaster readiness exercises.  We do not, however, propose to include the Displan on the website for several reasons. The Emergency Management Committee is not a committee of Council. It is a formed under separate legislation and as such does not report to Council.

It is our view there are currently too many changes occurring in and about to occur within the State’s emergency management structure. Some of which, we are still not privy to. Additionally, there are new planning elements that need to be incorporated in planning documents. Therefore, it would be counter productive to have information that may have changed or is about to change until such time as it is known what exactly those changes are to be.

That said, the local emergency management plan has the same operational parameters and, therefore, is executed in the same way as state level planning and policy.  Those responsible for carrying out the operational requirements of the plan have clear guidance in such matters from State Policy.

We trust that future information on the website will be helpful to you and other residents.  Thank you for your email.

Yours sincerely

 Ray Brownlee

General Manager

2 Responses to “EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT – IS RANDWICK COUNCIL UP TO SCRATCH”
  1. Helen says:

    Most Council staff wouldn’t have a clue what we have down this end, but whoever put up the web page has a sense of humour – 5th November Guy Fawkes Day.

  2. admin says:

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    As at 1/12/2010 no response. Matter discussed with Lisa Corbyn at Community Cabinet 29/11/10:

    —– Original Message —–

    To: michael.daley@parliament.nsw.gov.au ; peter.garrett.mp@aph.gov.au

    Cc: SOUTH WARD EMAIL ; Alan White ; Charles Matthews ; Robert Belleli

    Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 8:38 PM

    Subject: NSW AUDITOR-GENERAL CONCERNS ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION BY DECCW

    Dear Michael and Peter,

    I am writing in response to this story in INSIDE WASTE. It concerns the NSW Auditor-General’s report on the DECCW’s response to pollution incidents.

    I have written a number of times to you both about inadequacies in the reporting system, coordination of reports on incidents and the flow or lack thereof of followup information. Recent cases concerns emissions from Caltex and Huntsman.

    Postcode areas 2019 and 2036 both within your electorates, contain 10 of the 42 Major Hazard Facilities in NSW. This matter requires attention, it requires a coordinated response and consultation with all stakeholders, including residents. There are many more major facilities that are below the MHF threshold that are also of concern – eg. Caltex, Amcor, stevedores, Airport.

    The Auditor-General states:

    “We found that the department is not exercising the general oversight responsibilities it has under the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991. This means that it does not know what happens to the 20% of pollution incident reports that it refers on to other authorities.

    I met with you both around 5 years ago to discuss this matter. I followed up with further information and suggestions after this meeting. I have referred matters as they have arisen and each time have restated the problems. The DECCW badged as the EPA is the agency best placed to play a coordinating and liaison role between agencies. The Auditor-General is saying that they have the power under legislation to do better than what is currently occurring. Given the importance of this matter in your electorates, could you provide residents and workers in the area with a plan of action for making the EPA more effective. I realise we are talking about State juridisdiction here, but the environment and the people within it still reside and work in Kingsford Smith. This is a matter that concerns you both as well as the Randwick’s South Ward Councillors who I have copied into this email.

    regards,

    Lynda Newnam

    DECCW can’t prove it’s helping the environment says report http://www.insidewaste.com.au/StoryView.asp?StoryID=1538591

    Monday, 20 September 2010
    Paula Wallace, Inside Waste

    NSW’s Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat, released his report on the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water’s (DECCW) response to pollution incidents. The department could not report on how many high risk pollution incidents resulted in regulatory actions being taken, which is essential according to the Auditor-General to understanding whether the department’s actions are having a positive effect.

    In 2009-10, the DECCW Environment Line received 127,186 calls and of these 5,146 were reports of pollution incidents relating to air, water and land, but excluding motor vehicles and noise (an increase of 6% from two years ago). These reports from the public comprise around 80% of the reports received of pollution incidents.

    While the department uses a mix of tools to achieve environmental outcomes, it is not making the best use of the information from its Environmental Hotline, said Achterstraat.

    The hotline records how many reports there are of pollution, not how many incidents these relate to. Often the one incident receives a number of reports. And importantly, the department does not know what the combined effect of these incidents has been on the environment. This is despite its officers investigating all these reports.

    Greens MLC Ian Cohen has criticised the NSW Government, referring to the Auditor-General’s report as a “scathing indictment of the disregard this Government holds for the environmental impacts of pollution”.

    Cohen said that around 90% of pollution incidents were most likely from licensed premises.

    “Instead of doing their job of monitoring and enforcing pollution mitigation and management, the Government was found to be relying on the public to be their ‘eyes and ears’,” said Cohen.

    In a formal response to the report, the DECCW’s director general Lisa Corbyn said the audit had provided some useful information to assist the department in improving its program, “but its narrow focus has resulted in the audit not considering the program in its totality”.

    “I agree that improved data collection and analysis will be useful. However I do not agree with the implication in the conclusion that environmental harm is not part of our response,” she said.

    Achterstraat said that to protect a state-wide resource you need a state-wide view, and that he was “calling on the department to find out how many pollution incidents occur and regularly analyse the risk to the environment”.

    Following this audit, the DECCW said it will work to improve the centralised capture, analysis and monitoring of response data, although the timeframes may need to be adjusted to take into account the challenges and costs of developing state-wide databases.

    Achterstraat’s comments came just months after Victoria’s Auditor-General slammed the Victorian EPA for “not effectively regulating… the management of hazardous wastes”.

    His report found the Victorian EPA’s management of hazardous waste information is inadequate: “a series of fragmented databases are in use, some of which cannot distinguish matters central to hazardous waste”.

    Achterstraat has recommended that the DECCW implement, by December this year, a centralised recording and analysis of key information to improve the quality of data used for decision making and measuring performance, including the EPL number of the licensee implicated; whether the report is made by a licensee; and the assessed risk of the incident.

    The DECCW is currently investigating appropriate solutions to enhance the Environment Line database to include additional information about individual pollution incidents and improve search functionality so that data can be more easily accessed centrally for analysing and reporting trends.

    “This investigation will determine whether or not the recommendations can be funded and achieved by December 2010 or will identify another feasible timeframe,” said Corbyn.

    Other recommendations, for implementation by December 2010, include a range of regular checks, analysis and reports.

    Additionally, the report recommended that the DECCW should, by June 2011, make recommendations to the government on how to resolve the inconsistencies between the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991 and the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 regarding environment protection regulatory responsibilities in NSW.

    “We found that the department is not exercising the general oversight responsibilities it has under the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991. This means that it does not know what happens to the 20% of pollution incident reports that it refers on to other authorities.

    “Our concern is the gap in information about pollution incidents occurring across the state, and the extent of environmental harm, as well as the inconsistency between the two Acts,” said the report.

    In response, the DECCW said it “does not agree with the audit finding that there is a gap in information about pollution incidents”.

    It said that current mechanisms provide a higher level of regulatory accountability than was in place when the Protection of the Environment Administration Act was passed.

    “DECCW will therefore make recommendations to the Government to resolve the inconsistencies between the two Acts”.

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