Orica HCB Announcement

Published on 28 May 2014

This week I received confirmation that Orica has lodged an application to export 132 tonnes of Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) waste stored at their Botany facility to France for destruction at a licensed High Temperature Incineration Facility.

As Councillors are well aware, HCB is an chemical which was banned internationally in 2001. Importation and registration of HCB based products had been prohibited in Australia since 1980. HCB was previously used as a pesticide and produced as a waste by-product at former solvent and plastic manufacturing plants in Botany.

The disposal of the HCB waste has been an issue of long-standing concern in our community. In 2007 an attempt to ship the waste to Germany was prevented by the intervention of the two affected German state governments. Another attempt to dispose of the waste was unsuccessful in 2010 after the Danish Government opposed plans to import waste into their country. In 2009 a Federal Government report confirmed that there was no existing infrastructure capable of destroying the waste here in Australia.

The destruction will be carried out by the international company Tredi SA. I am advised that to date Tredi’s High Temperature Incinerator Operations have destroyed 7,500 tonnes of HCB from Europe.

Orica has stated that transport arrangements from the Botany Industrial Park to the Port will be finalised after consultation with the NSW Police Force, NSW Fire & Rescue and WorkCover.

I would like to acknowledge and thank our colleague The Honourable Matt Thistlethwaite MP the Federal Member for Kingsford Smith. Mr Thistlethwaite has undertaken extensive community consultation and worked hard to deliver an appropriate outcome for this long standing issue.

I commend Orica on making a responsible decision in this matter.

Orica has made the offer to provide a formal briefing on this issue. I propose to accept this offer and will endeavour to ensure, as far as possible, that all Councillors are given the opportunity to attend.

I move this minute be adopted.