Friends of the Earth

It’s time the Tasmanian public was told about a secret competition that could see Bell Bay in North East Tasmania chosen as the site for a massive new and transformative industry.

Industry executives at the highest level have told Friends of the Earth (FoE) that Tasmania is competing with Geelong in Victoria for a massive new recycling centre that will break and recycle the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of steel that will soon be made available from the retirement of offshore oil and gas platforms and thousands of kilometres of steel pipelines. Esso alone needs to remove 13 platforms from Bass Strait in coming years, with about 50 more available elsewhere in the country. A new “Rig Recycling Centre” could also tap into the thousands of offshore platforms that need to be removed from Asian waters.

FoE has also been told that the Victorian Resources Minister, Lilly D’Ambrosio, will use the next federal resources ministers’ meeting this year to ask her federal counterpart, Madeleine King, for the centre to be built in Geelong, so that Victoria can use the recycled steel to make wind turbine towers and bases. But FoE has been told that Bell Bay would be four times less expensive ($50m rather than $200m) and argues that an electric steel recycling smelter could also be built in Bell Bay to encourage a whole new industry for Tasmania.

FoE Offshore Fossil Gas Campaigner Jeff Waters said Tasmanian Federal MPs and Senators, as well as the Tasmanian Premier and Resources Minister had been alerted.

“What’s really important is that the Federal Government’s “Decommissioning Roadmap,” which is still being formulated, makes sure the oil and gas industry pays to clean up its own mess, and for all of the steel and other recoverable materials be recycled,” Jeff Waters said.

“That can easily be done by extending the existing temporary decommissioning levy, which all of the industry is now paying, to finance a recycling centre in Bell Bay, so that world’s best practice environmental standards can be followed.”

“We can’t trust the industry to do this properly,” Jeff Waters said.

Key Facts:

– It’s Bell Bay v Geelong in competition for new industry site

– Prospect of oil platform steel being recycled into wind turbine towers

– FoE calling for support from Tasmanian politicians

/Public Release.