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
2021 Implementation of government commitments in response to the Inquiry into the CFA Training College - Progress Report – 2020 (External link) An assessment of the Victorian Government’s progress in implementation of commitments made in response to the Fiskville Inquiry, the report noted the completion of some commitments related to occupational health and safety and environmental compliance at CFA’s training centres, and satisfactory progress made towards remaining commitments. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2020 Report into the West Footscray Industrial Fire (August 2018) (External link) A review examining the broad consequences of the 30 August 2018 West Footscray industrial fire incident, and identification of improvements in collaborative response to similar incidents since. The report makes recommendations towards improvement of the emergency management arrangements. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2019 Implementation of government commitments in response to the Inquiry into the CFA Training College at Fiskville - Progress Report - 2018 (External link) An assessment of the Victorian Government's progress during 2017-18 towards the commitments made in response to the Inquiry, highlighting key achievements: work plan to strengthen firefighter health, environment and wellbeing, research into the management of potential impacts of chemicals found and replacing infrastructure at Fiskville. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2019 Inquiry into Recycling and Waste Management - final report (External link) An inquiry initiated in response to the waste crisis that unfolded in the state in April 2019. The report provides an overview of the Victorian recycling and waste management system, particularly in the wake of changes to the export markets and the impact these changes have had on participants in the Victorian industry and on the Victorian community. Parliament of Victoria
2019 Recovering and Reprocessing Resources from Waste (External link) An audit examining whether responsible agencies are providing strategic direction, support and effective regulation in order to maximise the recovery and reprocessing of resources from Victoria's waste streams. The report made 6 recommendations for responsible agencies, including DELWP and EPA. Victorian Auditor-General's Office
2019 Inquiry into Recycling and Waste Management - interim report (External link) An interim report focussing on three major fires relating to the waste and resource recovery system in Victoria since 2017; Coolaroo in 2017 and Campbellfield in 2018 related to over-stocking of recyclable and chemical waste, and West Footscray in 2018 related to illegal stockpiling of industrial and chemical waste. Parliament of Victoria
2019 Implementation of government commitments in response to the Inquiry into the CFA Training College at Fiskville - Progress Report - 2019 (External link) An assessment of the Victorian Government’s implementation of commitments made in response to the Fiskville Inquiry. The Inquiry concluded poor safety practices at Fiskville and highlighted delays by agencies and regulators in preventing, responding to and managing the potential contamination of the site. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2018 Improving Victoria’s Air Quality (External link) An audit assessing Victoria’s air quality against national standards that made findings on EPA’s ambient air quality monitoring, the effectiveness of EPA’s campaign and emergency monitoring stations, and reporting on air quality; it also covered the importance of ensuring accountabilities are understood and coordination is achieved across all government agencies that undertake functions that impact air quality, including DELWP. Victorian Auditor-General's Office
2017 Review of SKM Coolaroo Recycling Plant Fire (External link) A review of the response to Coolaroo fire examining the effectiveness of emergency management improvements introduced following the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire; improvements applied included rapid deployment of air quality monitoring to inform health advice for local community and making information available on the EPA website. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
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