Repair information from QAL could be weeks away

RESIDENTS impatient to hear from QAL about damage to their property can expect a letter detailing the repair work from the company.

Letters were sent to about 800 residents warning they may be affected by the fallout from a chemical leak at the plant around noon on Wednesday, June 10.

In response QAL set up a 24-hour hotline and has started to assess the damage.

That should be finished by next week, according to the company's community relations manager Jeremy Hastings.

Mr Hastings reassured residents, and said the company was processing all concerns and repairs as fast as possible.

But, he said, it could take a number of weeks to finalise.

"Windscreens started being replaced yesterday," Mr Hastings said.

"We're working with local companies (who already have work booked in) and we are doing it as quickly as possible."

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South Gladstone resident Allan Jeffrey is frustrated though, because he is still not sure if, or when, the windscreen and paintwork on his car will be repaired.

He says QAL representatives visited his house last Saturday and used an LED light to inspect the car.

But since then, despite making three phone calls and sending three emails, Mr Jeffrey has heard nothing from QAL.

WAITING GAME: South Gladstone resident Allan Jeffrey can feel the damage to his car’s paintwork following the QAL leak.
WAITING GAME: South Gladstone resident Allan Jeffrey can feel the damage to his car’s paintwork following the QAL leak. Helen Spelitis

"I just want a letter or acknowledgment from them that they are accepting liability. You can feel it - if you clean the screen and run your hand over it you can feel the slight roughness because the surface is all pitted."

Mr Hastings explained there were five stages in dealing with damages:

  1.  Lodge a concern or enquiry: On the day of the incident teams went out to assess the impact zone and the letter drop commenced within two hours. The letter drop was completed the following day and an advertisement was placed in the Gladstone Observer on Friday and Saturday. Any one that thought they might have been impacted by the event were (and still are) encouraged to call 1800 181 110. This number is serviced 24/7 and residents can also place a complaint online here.
  2. QAL response: A member of the QAL team then contacts the individual to determine an appropriate course of action. If the case is an individual resident a QAL employee comes out and meets the individual face to face at a time that suits them. Over the two weeks following the incident, including the weekend straight after the event, we had a team of QAL employees who volunteered their time to meet and/or contact residents.
  3. Assessment: QAL has been working with a loss adjustment/insurance assessment company for 20 years. We have had up to five assessors who, once QAL have completed their initial response, go and see the damage to make a decision on the best method for repair. Assessing alkali damage takes a very highly skilled individual and over the years we have developed a huge amount of knowledge in how to best address damage.
  4. Repairs: Once the assessment is completed the individual that has been impacted will receive a letter advising them of the works that need to be completed. QAL will then support each individual with any transportation needs on the day of repairs. Most repairs can be undertaken in a day and we are working with a number of companies to support this process.
  5. Vehicle returned: Once the vehicle is returned to the individual, and they are satisfied with the repairs, the individual then signs off to say they are happy.


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