Blog | 21st Jun, 2018

Answers needed on botched Anglesea power station demolition

In May, Alcoa botched the demolition of Anglesea power station, sending a huge dust cloud over the town of Anglesea and potentially exposing residents to asbestos and other toxic pollution. Now it’s time for answers.

The failure so far of Alcoa and WorkSafe to fully disclose expert reports, risk assessments and monitoring results is worrying.

Following the failed demolition, Environment Victoria supports community calls for an independent inquiry into the process of cleaning up the site. We are concerned about possible asbestos and particulate matter exposure after a cloud of dust blew across the town of Anglesea in the aftermath of the failed demolition.

A vital role for government agencies in coming decades will be dealing with the legacy of disused industrial facilities and trying to clean up these sites to meet community expectations and environmental standards.

We need to get site clean ups right. When things go wrong, such as big companies botching a demolition, we need to understand why and set the bar higher so it doesn’t happen again.

The community needs to have faith in WorkSafe and other government agencies, and we expect agencies to be transparent.


Surf Coast News

THE smoke may have cleared from the failed Anglesea power station demolition but the repercussions continue, with some in the community calling for an independent judicial inquiry.

While not a government agency, Alcoa has benefited from a long-term public subsidy to support their operations, and must be held to a high standard of disclosure. Internationally they have a reputation of doing site remediation well, so we need to know what went wrong this time.

The Anglesea power station is relatively small compared to other facilities that will be decommissioned in coming years, with the much larger Hazelwood power station likely to be the next site undergoing extensive clean-up works. All parties involved in the failed Anglesea demolition need to be clear about what they have learned from this process, so the Latrobe Valley community does not need to deal with the same concerns as the people of Anglesea are right now.

The local Anglesea community has long campaigned for clean air after decades of pollution from Alcoa's brown coal burning power station. Credit: Flickr CC, Takvera.

The Andrews government has just introduced a new bill into Parliament to strengthen and modernise the EPA. We welcome the amendments being put forward, and trust that a further empowered EPA will help ensure that from here on the clean-up of old industrial sites will be a smooth and transparent process.

For ongoing updates on this issue you can follow ‘Surf Coast Air Action’ on Twitter or Facebook