20/10/2008 - 15:36

Labor calls for another Varanus inquiry

20/10/2008 - 15:36

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Labor leader Eric Ripper today called for an independent inquiry, jointly sponsored by the Commonwealth and State Governments, into the regulatory regime governing gas plants and pipelines in Western Australia.

Labor calls for another Varanus inquiry

Labor leader Eric Ripper today called for an independent inquiry, jointly sponsored by the Commonwealth and State Governments, into the regulatory regime governing gas plants and pipelines in Western Australia.

The decision comes in the wake of the release of National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority report into the gas explosion at Varanus Island on June 3, 2008.

"Shadow Cabinet has today resolved to support an independent, expert inquiry with powers to examine the effectiveness of the existing regulatory regime governing gas plants and pipelines in Western Australia," Mr Ripper said.

"The initial inquiry conducted by the NOPSA sought to establish the physical cause of the gas explosion at Varanus Island.

"The focus must now be on insuring that the regulatory regimes used to monitor gas plants and pipelines in Western Australia are adequate and effective."

Mr Ripper said there were at least three agencies currently involved in the regulation of gas facilities and gas pipelines including the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority, the Department of Industry and Resources and the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection.

"Whenever there is more than one agency involved in the administration of an area there is the potential for confusion," Mr Ripper said.

"A joint inquiry between the Federal and State Government would help establish clear lines of authority and accountability and minimise the risk of any future gas explosions."

Mr Ripper said there were a growing number of gas processing facilities being built and operated in WA and it was essential that business and the public had confidence in the regulatory regime.

"The petroleum industry in Western Australia enjoys a very good track record when it comes to providing employees with a safe working environment," he said.

"It is now up to the Government to work with industry to ensure we learn lessons from this devastating explosion and we avoid any future incidents.

 

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