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Geelong Advertiser (Australia): Shell says it cares for us

Thursday, July 20
Michael Auciello

SHELL’S Geelong refinery says it has to put more effort into promoting the contribution it makes to the Geelong community.

The refinery has released its 2005 annual performance review, with sustainable development manager Paul Cristofani highlighting the need to get its results out into the public.

A Geelong Manufacturing Council review of the refinery’s impact on the region put it at about 2000 jobs and $1.1 billion in local spending and wages.

“If people work against you, it doesn’t matter what you put out, it will take a couple of years to embed that into people’s minds,” he said.

“If fuel stopped coming out of the refinery, that’s when they’d notice.”

Mr Cristofani said there was only a “roomful of people” that see Shell’s community work as being a cover for other environment issues.

The review shows the refinery produced more than 6.4 billion litres of petroleum products last year.

Every day it produces about 7.8 million litres of petrol, 5.1 million litres of diesel and 1.9 million litres of jet fuel.

The refinery recorded 42 breaches of its Environment Protection Authority licence last year, down from 282 in 2003.

Mr Cristofani said most people assumed these were environment breaches but most were technical breaches.

General manager Huck Poh said he was proud of the fact workers last year clocked up 1.5 million hours worked without time lost for injury.

He said it was the first time in the refinery’s history it had gone a year without a recordable injury.

“This performance is world-class and reflects the sustained focus we have on safety and outstanding commitment from employees,” he said.

“The refinery’s environmental performance continued to improve and a 60 per cent reduction in licence breaches, relative to the previous year, was achieved.

“This reflects the significant investment being made in the area, including $35 million already spent and a further $52 million committed to environmental improvements during the next two years.”

He said 94 of the 155 items on the refinery’s Environment Improvement Plan had been completed and it had implemented a new community engagement program, which would focus on caring for the environment, health and education.

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