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.
Contractor Industrial Demolition Services detonated explosives at the power station (which Alcoa says is mostly steel) at 12.36pm on May 30, knocking down parts of the structure and causing a large dust cloud but leaving the main building mostly intact.
Surf Coast Air Action member, barrister and part-time Anglesea resident Andrew Laird is leading the community’s push for answers about what went wrong.
He is particularly concerned about any asbestos left in the power station building before the demolition, despite Alcoa stating it had carried out a “comprehensive 12-month asbestos removal program”.
“Alcoa has inexplicably refused to make the expert reports and risk assessments into the asbestos contamination and the failed explosive demolition public, which has damaged community confidence.
“The lack of transparency is very troubling and disrespectful of the community.
“Given the seriousness of the issue, I call on Premier Daniel Andrews to set up an independent judicial inquiry with the power to compel the production of documents and the attendance of witnesses to get to the bottom of the risks that the Anglesea community has been exposed to.”
The Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union has also criticised the demolition, saying it was “near impossible” for all of the asbestos to be removed and that international demolition experts should have been brought in.
In a statement last week, Alcoa said that it “continues to work with the principal contractor to assess the Anglesea site and plan for the remainder of the powerhouse structure to be demolished”.
“The safety of all site personnel and the community remains Alcoa’s priority and we thank the Anglesea community for its patience as we work through the next steps in the process”.
The industrial stack at the power station was not and is not scheduled to be demolished.