Bulletin No: 176 | 8 October 2018




Update to members


  • The UFU held its second meeting of the West Footscray UFU Working Party last week, Tuesday 2 October, at the UFU Office. The next Working Party meeting will be held on Tuesday 16 October. 
  • The UFU is currently researching suitable scientific and academic personnel with expertise in measuring and assessing impact on chemical exposures.
  • We also provide the following update regarding our correspondence with key organisations:


Correspondence with the MFB

  • The UFU wrote to the MFB about our UFU Working Party on 18 September. The MFB replied indicating that they will be proposing a Respiratory Protection Working Party initially to the MFB/UFU Consultative Committee, and will then pursue the issues that the UFU has raised through the proposed Respiratory Protection Working Party.
  • On 21 September, the UFU wrote another letter to the MFB stating that members’ exposure to toxins and changes to practices and procedures were of key concern to the UFU and UFU members. The UFU requested that the MFB share all information with the UFU regarding known or suspected toxins or chemicals at the site.  The UFU has not yet received a reply to this letter from the MFB.


Correspondence with the EPA, WorkSafe and the Coroner

  • We have not yet received a reply to our letters to EPA, WorkSafe or the Coroner. The UFU will pursue these authorities this week as this incident requires urgent and prompt attention.


Extract from letters to EPA and Worksafe:

We have set up a UFU West Footscray Factory Working Party (the Working Party) to examine the issues arising for our members as a result of the Fire. We would like to invite an EPA/WorkSafe nominated representative to attend a meeting of the Working Party in the near future. 

Would you please provide us with the name and contact details of the EPA officer/WorkSafe representative who is responsible for matters in relation to the Fire so that we may direct our inquiries to that person.


Extract from letter to Coroner

The UFU also submitted a number of questions to the Coroner, including:

  1. i) Is a modern day business model emerging for disposal of waste chemicals and other unwanted goods by storing and concentrating in derelict buildings increasing the risk of profit when there is a fire?
  2. k) Has the MFB or any other body identified sites which are being used as dumping grounds for waste chemicals and unwanted goods which co-incidentally pose a high fire risk?
  3. l) Is there a danger that this practice is putting at risk the lives of local residents and firefighters?


Member issues to be raised with Working Party

  • Members who would like to raise any issues with the UFU Working Party (or at the very least with an Industrial Officer) are encouraged to contact IO Carol Gee on io5@ufuvic.asn.au and/or Virginia Wills on io7@ufuvic.asn.au.


Strength in Unity

Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary