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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 331 asked in the Legislative Council on 2 April 2020 by Hon Alison Xamon

Minister responding: Hon S.N. Dawson
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

ALCOA WAGERUP REFINERY

331. Hon ALISON XAMON to the Minister for Environment:

I ask this question on behalf of Hon Diane Evers, who is away on urgent parliamentary business.

I refer to Alcoa's Wagerup refinery.

(1) Does Alcoa have permission to undertake any expansion works in 2020 at the Wagerup refinery?

(a) If yes to (1), can the minister please detail any works approvals that have been granted under part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986?

(b) If yes to (1), can the minister please table a copy of the works approvals granted?

(2) Does Alcoa have permission to undertake significant maintenance works at its Wagerup refinery in 2020?

(a) If yes to (2), can the minister please detail any works approvals that have been granted under part V of the Environmental Protection Act?

(b) If yes to (2), can the minister please table a copy of the works approvals granted?

(3) What safeguards are in place to ensure that expansion works do not occur without appropriate EPA approval?

Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:

I thank Hon Diane Evers for some notice of the question. I will point out that although this question is labelled parts (1) to (3), it is a seven-part question. I want to draw the member's attention to that. I have pointed this out a couple of times this week.

The PRESIDENT: You have indeed, minister. Perhaps that might be conveyed back to the member for future reference. If a member provides a very long, detailed question, it means that there might be long, detailed response. That slows down question time and might deny other members an opportunity for a question if we run out of time.

Hon STEPHEN DAWSON: Thank you, Madam President.

(1) Alcoa has some of the environmental approvals required for expansion works at the Wagerup refinery. This includes ministerial statement 728, which allows for the expansion of the refinery to 4.7 million tonnes per annum.

(a) The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation has not received any applications under part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 related directly to the expansion approved under ministerial statement 728. However, on 27 March 2017, a works approval was issued that allows for the construction and commissioning of an oxalate bio-removal facility. This facility will improve the management and treatment of oxalate generated at the premises.

(b) I table a copy of this works approval.

[See paper 3772.]

(2) (a)–(b) DWER has not issued any approvals under part V of the EP act for significant maintenance works at the premises. Under section 53(2)(d) of the EP act, some maintenance can be undertaken in certain circumstances without approval.

(3) The EP act and conditions of approval include a range of controls to ensure that activities are undertaken in accordance with the approval. Under section 53 of the EP act, it is an offence if an occupier of a prescribed premises causes an emission, or alters the nature or volume of the waste, noise, odour or electromagnetic radiation, other than in accordance with a works approval or a licence. In addition, ministerial statement 728 sets out a number of obligations for Alcoa prior to submitting an application under part V of the EP act for any expansion works.