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Geelong Advertiser (Australia): Feds won’t budge on Shell recycling plant

Kerri-Ann Hobbs
Thursday 17 May 2007

FEDERAL Water Minister Malcolm Turnbull remains reluctant to give $20 million to Corio’s water recycling plant without a commitment to the region from Shell Australia.

“Unlike Labor, the (Federal) Government has not rushed to commit funding without fully taking into account all of the circumstances and the best interests of the Geelong community,” a spokesman for Mr Turnbull said.

“The Australian Government will continue to properly and fully consider this issue in the best interests of the Geelong community.”

Shell Australia chairman Russell Caplan yesterday restated the company had no immediate plans to close the Corio refinery but the company would re-assess the viability of it’s Australian plants in a year.
The global oil giant had assured Barwon Water it would remain in the region for many years, chairman Stephen Vaughan said.

“We think it’s a very good project in terms of freeing up potable water,” Mr Vaughan said.

“To us the only unresolved issue is the amount of federal funding.”

The water plant woes were revealed when the Shell boss flagged the possibility its Australian operations could be moved off-shore to modern super-plants when addressing a national press conference.

“Our refineries in this country are very small by world scale,” he told the Herald Sun.

“The total refining capacity is equal to the size of just one of these Asian refineries.

“When it comes time for a major investment, hundreds of millions of dollars, then there’s a decision to be made _ do you invest it in an old, small, sub-scale local refinery or do you invest it in a big modern refinery in India or Singapore or somewhere and import?”

Those comments prompted ALP Corio candidate Richard Marles to reveal the project, pledged by Federal Labor if elected, was also reliant on Shell’s commitment to the region.

Corangamite MP Stewart McArthur said the water recycling plant was vital for the region to grow.

“Everyone wants to see Shell remain here in Geelong for a long, long time and I am confident they will be here investing in our community for many years but either way this is irrelevant when it comes to the water recycling proposal,” Mr McArthur said. and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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