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A hazardous chemicals secretariat was established circa July 1990 to conduct a comprehensive review and inquiry into the chemical industry in the State. Following a chemical fire on Coode Island on 21 August 1991 a Coode Island Review Panel was established, with an independent secretariat, to look at short term safety measures and to report on the long term storage of bulk liquid hazardous chemicals in Victoria.
The Department of Manufacturing and Industry Development provided significant input into the Review Panel. The Department was also represented on the Government Consultative Reference Group which assisted the Review Panel. In its Annual Report 1991-92 the Department also stated that it had continuing responsibility for ensuring the implementation of reductions in the inventory of bulk hazardous chemicals on the island.
The Safer Chemicals Storage Taskforce was established following recommendations contained in the Final Report of the Review Panel. The Taskforce was responsible for the co-ordination, monitoring and reporting of progress on the implementation of recommendations in the Final Report, as well as actually implementing about half of the recommendations. The core recommendation was the development of a new bulk liquid storage terminal for hazardous chemicals at West Point Wilson near Geelong. The first meeting of the Taskforce took place in May 1992. The Safer Chemicals Storage Taskforce Secretariat was established as an associated administrative unit of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (VA 1039).
The Taskforce initiated the preparation of an Environmental Effects Statement (EES) under the guidance of a West Point Wilson Environmental Effects Consultative Committee. In October 1992 the Taskforce Secretariat passed to the Department of Business and Employment (VA 3096).
The Taskforce was disbanded at the beginning of December 1993 and the West Point Wilson Project was established to look at bringing the sector into the relocation of the chemical storage facility. From 1996 to 1998, after a decision had been made regarding the development of a new port and chemical facility a unit within the Department of State Development was known as the Point Lillias project Unit. This unit appears to have been disbanded by the end of 1999.