Cynthia Lui MP
Member for Cook
THE Palaszczuk Government has announced an additional training and equipment for the Torres Strait Island community to ensure they are prepared to help protect their unique maritime environment from a pollution incident.
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the Palaszczuk Government was now delivering three shipping containers carrying $433,000 of essential pollution response equipment and training kits to Thursday Island.
"Torres Strait and mainland communities have long called for the skills and equipment to respond autonomously and immediately to an environmental emergency in their region," Ms Lui said.
"The delivery of these containers will give them what they need to tackle an incident as first responders at an early stage when time is critical and continue to work when back-up arrives.
"The Torres Strait is especially vulnerable to any incident involving vessels using the internationally recognised shipping channel though the region.
"There are already extensive protections in place to keep the risk of ship-sourced oil spill as low as possible.
"However, we have a responsibility to this environmentally sensitive area to ensure our readiness to respond is at the highest possible standard.
"Two of the containers are set up for full pollution response with equipment ranging from floating booms to oil skimmers, pumps and storage tanks as well as personal protective equipment.
"Maritime Safety Queensland is running an extensive training program and the third container has been set up as an additional training kit.”
Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Angus Mitchell said the containers were designed to be easily delivered around the islands.
"The containers will be stored on Thursday Island and are designed to be moved by the array of forklifts located on the outer islands," Mr Mitchell said.
"The training kit will be used to increase training and familiarisation with pollution response equipment.
"They will add to the already-established equipment stored on Thursday Island allowing greater division of equipment in the event of a widespread oil spill.
"These kits will allow greater collaboration with the local community in preparing for a response to an oil spill in the region and a faster response.
"In a symbolic but culturally significant gesture, one of the containers has been branded with Sacred Seas artwork, co-designed by a Torres Strait Islander
woman incorporating traditional elements of the area."
Ms Lui said the International Maritime Organisation had declared the Torres Strait as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area recognising the unique and
complex marine ecosystem and its vulnerability to damage by international shipping activities.
"This means the Torres Strait must be supported by appropriate protective measures to prevent, reduce or eliminate the risk of marine pollution," she said.
Media Contact – Cook Electorate Office – 4223 1100