Fire near Orica in Sydney raises concerns for Newcastle residents

2 June 2013

Greens councillor Michael Osborne has again raised the need for Council to be fully briefed about the risks posed by ammonium nitrate storage after emergency services raised concerns about a fire next to the Orica plant in Sydney.

“This is exactly the type of risk that residents in Newcastle are concerned about and the reason the Greens councillors wanted Council to be briefed by the experts,” said Cr Michael Osborne.
“Ammonium nitrate is a powerful oxidising agent used with relevant fuels to create explosions,” said Cr Michael Osborne.

“It is manufactured and stored at Orica, stored at Incitec Pivot on Kooragang Island and there are plans for a large storage facility at Crawford Freightlines at Sandgate,” said Cr Michael Osborne.

“Newcastle residents have expressed concern that Council and the State Government are not taking the risk from these storage facilities seriously,” said Cr Michael Osborne.

“This incident in Sydney has rung alarm bells for local residents, especially after the explosion at the West Fertilizer Plant in April this year when the explosion was measured as a magnitude 2.1 earthquake and caused damage across several city blocks,” said Cr Michael Osborne.

“Last Tuesday night, the conservatives on Newcastle City Council refused to even consider being briefed by the experts on the risk that confronts our local residents saying it is not something that Council should be concerned about,” said Cr Michael Osborne.

The massive fire that gutted a recycling plant in Sydney on Saturday night had firefighters and the police concerned that the blaze could spread to the nearby Orica chemical plant. More than 100 firefighters battled the flames and brought it under control after about two hours.

Contact: Michael Osborne 0439 442984

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