Page 869 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 April 2014

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Canberra Liberals agreed. It is interesting that Minister Rattenbury is now backing away from his own earlier suggestion. I quote from the Canberra Times of 25 March:

Revelations about the pollution of groundwater underneath the former Koppers Wood Products timber treatment plant in Hume have raised broader concerns from Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury about environmental protection in the ACT.

The water was contaminated with up to 2430 times the safe limit of the carcinogenic chemical hexavalent chromium, known for its association with the Erin Brockovich case in the United States.

The Koppers pollution, which is believed to be isolated to the 20 hectare site, exposed a series of failures by authorities in enforcing the multinational corporation’s compliance with environmental law.

That included failing to enforce regular groundwater monitoring at the site between 1998 and 2005, the year the company closed the plant.

The Environment Protection Authority did not conduct annual checks of Koppers’ compliance with their legally-binding environmental authorisation, a set of conditions designed to protect the ACT from the company’s use of copper, chrome, and arsenic to treat timber for the production of Koppers logs.

Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury says he will write to Environment Minister Simon Corbell to ensure the problems will not be repeated.

He said an assessment of the EPA could potentially be done through a performance audit by the ACT Auditor-General.

The Canberra Liberals still strongly believe that the Auditor-General would be best placed to conduct such an inquiry. I believe the general community would agree. It is concerning—in fact, I think it is quite sad—to see that Mr Rattenbury, the Greens MLA, is taking the side of the Labor government rather than being true to his own constituency and principles and ensuring that environment considerations are paramount.

We do not support the amendment or the amendment to the amendment. We would like to see an inquiry by the ACT Auditor-General.

Question put:

That Mr Rattenbury’s amendments to Mr Corbell’s proposed amendment be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 7

Noes 6

Mr Barr

Mr Gentleman

Mr Coe

Mr Smyth

Ms Berry

Ms Porter

Mrs Dunne

Mr Wall

Dr Bourke

Mr Rattenbury

Mr Hanson

Mr Corbell

Ms Lawder

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