Major emergencies involving hazardous materials include large chemical fires in populated areas causing the release of toxic plumes, for example, a major hazard facility or waste management facility.

The loss-of-containment of materials that are in storage or being transported could also lead to a large explosion or release of toxic pollutants to the environment.

Examples of hazardous material incidents in Victoria include:

  • 2012 - Port of Portland 600T coal tar pitch spill
  • 2012 - Wangaratta Nuplex chemical incident caused by an uncontrolled chemical reaction in a reactor vessel
  • 2015 - Somerton tip fire occurred at a private refuse facility operated by Ecotec Solutions
  • 2017 - Coolaroo SKM recycling plant fire
  • 2019 - Campbellfield Bradbury Industrial Services hazardous waste storage facility fire

A parliamentary inquiry into recycling and waste management was established in March 2019 to inquire into the issue of the devastating industrial fires that have taken place as a result of the illegal or inappropriate stockpiling of dangerous chemicals.

All links in the table below will open in a new window.

Publish year Assurance activity Summary Organisation
2016 Independent Inquiry into the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (External link) A comprehensive review of the EPA since commencement in 1971. Tasked with considering how best to protect public health and the environment for future generations and combine its role with economic sustainability and jobs growth, the inquiry examined EPA's role, powers, governance and funding, and tools. Parliament of Victoria
2016 Inquiry into the CFA Training College at Fiskville Final Report (External link) An inquiry into the CFA training College it provided studies of pollution, unsafe activities, health impacts and the role of past and present executive management, an assessment of the feasibility of decontamination/rectification of the training site and recommendations to mitigate ongoing harm and to provide justice to victims and their families. Parliament of Victoria
2012 Quick Look Report Hazardous Materials Incident Nuplex Resins, December 2011 (External link) An assessment of a chemical plant incident that occurred in Wangaratta whereby surrounding households were evacuated, some relocating to relief centres. The assessment found that issuing of advice and warnings to the community was delayed, and bushfire warning templates were used instead of hazmat-specific templates. Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner
2012 Review of the Port of Portland Emergency (External link) A review focused on the effectiveness of the Victorian emergency management arrangements in providing a framework for the management of an emergency event involving liquid tar leakage from a 4000 tonne storage tank. Fire Services Commissioner Victoria
2012 Towards improved fire management in landfill sites: A review by I.R.S Services (External link) A study to identify common features between three landfill fires to consider when developing approaches to reduce the future incidences. A key finding was that fire suppression at landfill sites was costly and resource intensive for fire services and could be contained through improved prevention, planning and preparation for fire at the site. Fire Services Commissioner Victoria
2012 Operational Review: Yarra Valley Grammar School Fire January 30 2012 (External link) A review that assessed the response to a fire at a school in Ringwood to identify opportunities for improvement. The identified improvements supported the Victoria’s Fire Services reform program, improving the interoperability, resilience, capability and capacity of fire services and the services they provide to the community. Fire Services Commissioner Victoria
2011 TriTech Lubricants Factory Fire (External link) A review of the 19 May 2011 fire at the TriTech Lubricants factory, Dandenong South. The review considered the 'command, control and coordination' arrangements established at the incident, including any multi agency/organisation arrangements, control strategies to implemented by the incident controller for the TriTech lubricants fire and the issuing of community information and warning to assist the community make informed decision regarding their safety. Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner