2013-14 Annual Report - Part 3.4: Stakeholder engagement

Part 3: Report on Performance - 3.4 Stakeholder engagement

ARPANSA's stakeholder engagement takes many forms. This section reviews a selection of the activities. Other activities include presentations at conferences and other meetings, as well as international engagement, both considered separately in this report.

Dose Register Workshop

On 13 October 2013, the annual Dose Register Workshop was held in Cairns and was attended by key stakeholders, including representatives from the uranium and mineral sands mining industries, state and territory radiation and mining regulators, and Commonwealth licence holders. Presentations were made by ARPANSA staff and industry representatives. Material covered included the operational status of the Dose Register, analysis of data, national uniformity and best practice, and proposed expansion of the Register to other industries. The purpose of the workshop was to provide a platform for feedback from industry and to facilitate a greater level of communication between ARPANSA and industry about the Dose Register work programs and plans for future development of the Register.

Electromagnetic Energy Reference Group

On 27 November 2013 and 14 May 2014, meetings of ARPANSA's Electromagnetic Energy Reference Group (EMERG) were held focusing upon ARPANSA's review of the science concerning radiofrequency (RF) radiation and health, and included considerations on future planning for updating the RF Standard. EMERG was established to provide stakeholder and community input into electromagnetic energy issues and the group includes representatives from consumer organisations, the telecommunications industry, the health sector, academic organisations, other government organisations and community groups (www.arpansa.gov.au/AboutUs/Committees/emerg.cfm).

Science and Wireless Symposium

On 27 November 2013, the newly formed Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research hosted the public 'Science and Wireless' symposium at RMIT University where ARPANSA's CEO officially opened the Centre, delivering the opening address. The symposium provided an opportunity for scientists, regulators, industry specialists and members of the community to meet and exchange views on radiofrequency and health in a public forum. ARPANSA's Chief Radiation Health Scientist delivered a presentation at the symposium on public health aspects of new technologies (www.rmit.edu.au/scienceandwireless).

Environmental Health Professionals of Australia Symposium

On 17 September 2013, an ARPANSA scientific officer delivered a presentation on electromagnetic fields in the environment at the Environmental Health Professionals of Australia Symposium held in Cape Schanck.

Meeting with World Health Organization (WHO) UV Collaborating Centers on ultraviolet radiation

In November 2013, ARPANSA met in Melbourne with representatives from three of the world's six WHO UV Collaborating Centres, including Public Health England, the Cancer Council Victoria and SunSmart, to discuss the role of UV science and its communication. The Cancer Council and SunSmart raised a number of issues highlighting the necessity and value of collaboration, and the interdependence of the agencies. Cancer Council Victoria is carrying out a $400 000 national survey on UV exposure and skin cancer this summer and data from the ARPANSA Ultraviolet Radiation network will be used to correlate sun exposure data.

The 38th Annual Conference of the Australasian Radiation Protection Society, Cairns, Australia 13-17 October 2013

In October 2013, ARPANSA delivered presentations at the Australasian Radiation Protection Society (ARPS) Conference held in Cairns, Queensland, covering: naturally occurring radioactive materials; the Australian National Radiation Dose Register; radioactive waste management; environmental assessments; and health impacts from the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident. ARPANSA's attendance at this forum provided an opportunity to network with other regulators responsible for uranium mining and milling and to publicise ARPANSA's work in protecting occupationally exposed workers.

Regulation of IPLs and lasers used for cosmetic purposes, Sydney, Australia 8-11 May

In May 2014, ARPANSA was invited by the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia to give a presentation on lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) sources at the 2014 Non-Surgical Symposium. The symposium brought together medical specialists that use lasers and IPLs for cosmetic purposes. ARPANSA presented statistical data of injuries and the process for the regulation of lasers and IPLs used in the cosmetic industry.

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health Inquiry into Skin Cancer in Australia, Melbourne – 6 June 2014

ARPANSA lodged a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health Inquiry into Skin Cancer in Australia. The Committee held a hearing in Melbourne to hear submissions from various organisations involved in skin cancer prevention and detection, including ARPANSA. ARPANSA presented evidence to the Committee that solar ultraviolet radiation levels in Australia are extremely high in comparison to other countries and that this was a significant reason for the high skin cancer rates in Australia, given population exposures are generally proportional to the levels of ambient solar ultraviolet radiation.

LABCON Conference

On 3 December 2013, ARPANSA scientific officers delivered presentations on electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and ultraviolet (UV) radiation awareness and protection at the annual Laboratory Technicians Association of Victoria Conference held in Melbourne.

Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service

The Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service (ACDS) pilot phase concludes in 2014. As a result of recommendations in a review of the pilot phase, ARPANSA ran a one-day workshop with ACDS stakeholders on 6 March 2014. The stakeholders included state and territory regulators and representatives from the jurisdiction departments of Health, the three radiotherapy professional colleges (Australian Institute of Radiography, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine) and patients. The workshop considered the justification for the ACDS to continue; the auditing model which should be recommended by ARPANSA; whether the audits should be mandatory; if audits are mandatory, how would this be regulated; and how would the ACDS be funded. The view of the stakeholders was overwhelmingly positive, all of them agreeing that participation in the ACDS audits was a tool for improving the quality of radiotherapy.

ARPANSA conducted a course on reference dosimetry (External Beam Reference Dosimetry Course, 10-11 October 2013, Lifehouse building, Camperdown, Sydney) in collaboration with the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. The course was attended by 54 medical physicists and covered a range of topics including techniques and protocols for radiation measurement for all types of external beam radiotherapy. ARPANSA also made multiple presentations at the annual conferences of the Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine (ESPM 2013) and the Australian Radiation Protection Society (ARPS 2013).

Licence Holders' Forum – 30 October 2013

On 30 October, ARPANSA's annual Licence Holders' Forum was hosted by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and attended by 44 attendees, representing 13 licence holders. The CEO of ARPANSA, Dr Carl‑Magnus Larsson delivered the opening address. There were presentations on annual licence charges and cost recovery, introduction of the Licence Administration Database, update on Codes and Standards, and radiation incident reporting which included workshop activities. A guest speaker from ANSTO gave a presentation on safety culture.

Defence-ARPANSA Liaison Forum – 13 June 2014

A Defence-ARPANSA Liaison Forum (DALF) was held at Department of Defence, Canberra on 13 June 2014. The main topics of discussion involved progress on outstanding Defence source licence applications, Defence radioactive waste management strategy and Defence risk assessments of radiation sources. It was agreed that the frequency of DALF meetings would move from twice per year to an annual meeting. However, lower level operational meetings would occur more frequently via videoconferencing facilities, where possible.

ANSTO-ARPANSA OPAL Quarterly Review Meetings

ARPANSA and ANSTO met in August 2013, November 2013, February 2014 and May 2014 to review the OPAL research reactor Quarterly Reports submitted by ANSTO. These OPAL Quarterly Review meetings are designed to discuss the OPAL reactor operations during the previous quarter, including operational history, reactor events, unplanned reactor trips, safety performance indicators and liquid and airborne discharges from OPAL.

CASE STUDY: Engaging the Community

In October 2012, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) announced its intention to expand its Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) production with the construction of a new Mo-99 facility at Lucas Heights. Molybdenum-99 is an important radioisotope used in nuclear medicine for the diagnosis of a wide variety of medical disorders and ANSTO is a major national and international supplier.

On 4 October 2013, the CEO of ARPANSA decided to issue a licence to ANSTO to prepare a site for the new Molybdenum-99 production facility.

In deciding to grant the licence, the ARPANS Regulations mandate that the CEO advertise ARPANSA’s receipt of the licence application and that a licensing decision would follow a public consultation process.

ARPANSA advertised the application and invited submissions via ARPANSA’s website, the Public Service Gazette and newspapers, both locally and nationally.

On 16 May 2013, the CEO hosted a community information session on the licence application and related applications for the Interim Waste Store, and the SyMo Facility at the Engadine Community Centre in Engadine, New South Wales. The session provided presentations from the regulator on the framework and process for assessing the licence application and from the proponent (ANSTO) describing the purpose, design and timeline for developing the new facility. After sessions on each application, members were invited to question presenters, the CEOs of ARPANSA and ANSTO, and comment on the applications.

As a result of the entire consultation process, submissions from members of the public identified five major issues that were considered and responded to in the CEO’s Statement of Reasons, and a separate supporting document, both of which have been published on ARPANSA’s website.