A freshly painted Pacific National locomotive. Pacific National confesses to be Orica's cyanide carrier but will not 'fess up to how much and how often they carry cyanide through the Richmond Valley.
On 18 September 2006 the Environmental Services Manager of Kyogle Shire Council tabled information on the transport of cyanide on the Brisbane to Sydney rail line.
The report had been prepared at the request of Cr Peter Lewis, chair of the Kyogle Emergency Services Committee.
In an effort to ascertain the amount and frequency of cyanide allegedly being transported, the manager had contacted NSW Rail Estate the rail land owner, Australian Rail Track Corporation, rail track renter and operator, and rail freight corporations, Patrick Rail, InterRail, Queensland Rail Line and Pacific National.
Patrick Rail, InterRail and Queensland Rail Line all indicated that they did not transport cyanide.
Pacific National responded as follows:
"Thank you for your email. Unfortunately Pacific National is not at liberty to divulge such information to your Council. This relates primarily to the current clime of security sensitive issues. This stance in also in accordance with agreements and understandings made with many organisations relating to rail security.
Divulging any information could also constitute a potential breach of our customer's information/confidentiality protocols.
That said, please be advised that all goods entrusted to Pacific National, are handled and transported in strict adherence to - and in accordance with various legislative requirements, rail transport regulations and codes of practices applicable throughout Australia.
Pacific National's policies and procedures also reflect these requirements.
May I suggest that Council contact the manufacturers and distributors of this product who may be willing to impart this information to you.
manager Environmental Risk and Compliance
Level 10, 628 Bourke Street
Melbourne, Vic, 3000
Ph: 03 8414 8705
Fax: 03 8414 8767
The Manager Environmental Services suggested that, given cyanide is subject to the Commonwealth Dangerous Goods Code which requires each transporter to develop emergency management plans in the event of a spill, it was appropriate for the Local Emergency Services Committee to approach the NSW Department of Transport and Regional Services and seek a copy of any emergency management plans for cyanide spills in the area.
Myself, I wouldn't be holding my breath for an honest and open response to that question.
For the Earth!
Peacebus.com at Sandy beach, near Woolgoolga NSW, 7 September 2006