11 August, 2017

ICAC inquiry into Central Coast illegal waste dump long overdue

The Nature Conservation Council welcomed the decision of EPA Chairman/CEO Barry Buffier to refer allegations of waste industry corruption, including on the Central Coast, to the Independent Commission Against Corruption for investigation.

“The Community Environment Network had been blowing the whistle on illegal dumping at Mangrove Mountain in the Central Coast for almost a decade, and yet the EPA has failed to shut the operation down,” Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said. 

“The public has a right to know how and why public officials allowed a private company to dump nearly 1 million cubic metres of waste at the Mangrove Mountain site since 2008, much of it illegally.

“The Community Environment Network has been urging the EPA and the local council to close the illegal facility for many years.

“The network’s volunteers should have been praised for this work, but the authorities at first ignored and derided them, then accused them of misleading the public.

“The ABC 4 Corners expose on Monday night vindicated the network’s concerns and pointed to serious issues of maladministration and possibly corruption that will now be investigated by ICAC.

“Community confidence in the EPA is undermined when it doesn’t vigorously uphold laws protecting the environment and communities from the selfish actions of unscrupulous businesses.”

Ms Smolski said the Mangrove Mountain scandal was just one of many issues of concern raised in the 4 Corners program. The Nature Conservation Council also supports:

  • Strengthening laws to ensure rapid and effective responses to illegal dumps like Mangrove Mountain;
  • Strengthening the market for recycled materials to minimise incentives to send materials to land fill;
  • Mandating minimum recycled content in contracts for roads, construction materials, packaging and other items;
  • Developing a national response to remove financial incentives for inter-state transport and dumping of waste; and
  • Expanding the Upper House Inquiry into Energy from Waste to examine the Western Sydney Energy from Waste Proposal.

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Pollution and waste

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