Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Decontamination experts meet in Melbourne.



Download PDFDownload PDF

DEFENCE MEDIA RELEASE

Issued by Coordination and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6265 3343, Fax: 02 6265 6946

Media Releases are available via e-mail if you register at the Media Centre at www.defence.gov.au/media

DSTO 001/05 Monday, 14 February 2005

DECONTAMINATION EXPERTS MEET IN MELBOURNE

The world’s leading researchers in the destruction and removal of biological and chemical contamination are meeting in Melbourne this week for the first conference of its kind in Australia.

Decon Downunder is being co-hosted by Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and the Joint Science and Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense in the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Dr Ian Sare, Director of the Platform Sciences Laboratory at DSTO, said the conference brings together leading international researchers who will provide an overview of decontamination and remediation programs in their countries.

“This conference complements the Government’s ongoing commitment to minimise potential threats to Australia through the use of chemical and biological weapons,” Dr Sare said.

“Decontamination and remediation are critical in the response and recovery phase of an incident involving chemical and biological hazards.”

“When a major incident occurs, such as an industrial accident, it is imperative that the contaminated facility is quickly restored and brought back to normal operations but the challenge is to ensure that no further damage is caused in the process of the clean-up and recovery,” Dr Sare said.

He said people in the world were living in an environment that was increasingly susceptible to chemical and biological hazards.

“The better prepared we are to deal with the after-effects of these incidents, the quicker will be the recovery.”

“With participants from the scientific community, emergency services and the civil defence community, this is an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas on common issues to do with decontamination,” Dr Sare said.

More than 150 delegates from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK and the USA are attending the three-day conference at the Rydges hotel in Melbourne.

Issued by Coordination and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6265 3343, Fax: 02 6265 6946

Media Releases are available via e-mail if you register at the Media Centre at www.defence.gov.au/media

One of the keynote speakers is Dr. Sal Bosco, Deputy Director for Science and Technology at the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency. He will explore the challenges and issues associated with returning a contaminated facility or object to public use, and pose the question: ‘how clean is safe enough?’. Dr Bosco will illustrate his talk with recent examples

of the sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway and anthrax spores in the Brentwood Post Office, Washington DC.

Decon Downunder will act as a springboard for greater collaboration between non-defence research organisations, industry and DSTO.

“The conference outcomes are expected to provide the Australian Defence Force and emergency services with the knowledge and equipment required to conduct decontamination duties more effectively in the future,” Dr Sare said.

Media Contact

DSTO: Helen Ward (03) 9626 7130 or 0418 103 691