17 April 2008

ATO White Powder Incident !

| lemaChet
Join the conversation

I’ve just received notification that there has been a suspicious powder incident at the (new) ATO building in the City.
There has been at least one road/lane closure that I’m aware of, and expected to be closed for at least the next 2 hours.

This makes the third such incident in a very short period of time.

So, fess up, who is it ?

[Ed. Gungahlin Al has let us know that Muralla Lane in Civic (between Mort Street and Canberra Centre) have been closed.]

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

The part that I thought was most interesting about this yesterday was the communication about the incident to staff in those buildings.

I was walking past Muralla lane at about 11.30am, and firies and cops were turning up and blocking the street off. Came back to my building on Mort street, and within an hour we all had an email saying there was a white powder incident in the mail room or the ATO building and the lane was closed.

Hubby works in the ATO building and they weren’t told anything! they only found out about when someone from my building called to see if they had been evacuated or air con turned off.

I would have thought the first thing the property people should have done is advised ATO staff so people don’t freak out or jump to conclusions… thats government for you!

It’s actually 30 degrees when a commonwealth still-aired building should be evacuated when the air-conditioning is not functioning.

Although you must also comply to the Australian Standard 1668 part 2 which you must maintain 3.5 ltrs of fresh ventilated air per second per person or simular in a filtration system.

Even if the whole building is not shut down if there are still people using the building you can bet the section where the incident happened was shut of like when there is a fire.

Don’t you think that the possibility of a real infectious substance spreading through a whole building of workers is a greater ohs risk than shutting of air-conditioning until they are sure of what the substance is?

Also if you are a government department it has to reach a certain temp before you are sent home when the air-conditioning is broken/off and I can tell you that it is not a particularly low number either, I have been working here many times when it is stinking hot because the air is broken and we have not been sent home.

Having been involved in a white powder incident in an office recently we took the logical approach and after alerting the guys in the yellow suits we called the bloke that sent the item. Turned out that this nutter had a gripe with the way the world works and decided to send a chunk of what turned out to be wood infested with borers to the Minister. The output from the borers (frass) had spread inside the package and gave rise to the intiial white powder incident…

Commonsense prevailed – we were quickly back at work after giving a couple of statements to the Feds and the nutter recieved a visit the next day from the boys in blue. Aparently sending intimidating items in the mail is an offence! Who would have thought?

i would hazard a guess and say that the first thing that the mail monkey would do is lick his fingers before calling HAZMAT and the spooks.

This wasn’t a mail incident nor was the last. It is just an incident where white powder is found that has been placed suspiciously.

And no… the airconditioning is still going. Shutting the aircon off would allow for us all to go home cause it’s an OHS risk to have uncirculated air in a building.


I would hazard a guess and say the first is that the mail monkey does is that they’d lick their fingers before calling HAZMAT and the spooks.

Actually i imagin that the first think that happens in one of these situations would be the airconditioning being shut off.

When I had a look it seems to be in the loading dock of 14 and 16 Mort Street where the government vehicles can also access the basement – which would be the ex-DEST now DEEWR.

It would be very nice if the Government would say something to us because all of our airconditioning vents go out on to that street which means potentially we could all be infected if it is real… So even just a “Hey there was a powder incident but it was fake”.

It is quite BS that this is happening and government departments being target because we’re all just humans too, trying to help Australians in every way we can.

we call those days “week days”

Leave your flour at home! grrr. Anyway, is it flour, or talcum powder?

Actually, I’d rather a “bring your flour to work” day, than those unutterable “bring your spawn of HELL to work” days.


Like a “Bring your flour to work” day?

They probably just dont want to give whoever is doing it the satisfaction of being ‘famous’. Or to encourage copycats.

That is unless we are actually under a full terror attack and they want to keep us calm! arrgh! *stops, drops and rolls*

@ skids;
I think the AFP could work harder at locking up all these old people. Everytime they skin their knee due to a crack in the pavement mucking up their gyroscopic false hip my private health insurance tariffs go up!

While the AFP Media units collect their own media coverage, and apparently there were cameras at the other one, they seem to take their “ACT Policing will release no information relating to ongoing investigations and inquiries” far too seriously.

It would be nice to even have -a- statement sdomewhere about these, even if it was just “Yes, Government building X YZ had an incident of which details are not being released at this time as investigations are continuing”.

At least it would like they were doing something instead of bragging about locating the elderly and saying to contact police media if they have any further questions about it.

any other news sources on this? I can’t find anything at the moment.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.