Mood: not sure
Topic: nsw govt
Depressingly we read a policy wonk in her team state - might have been via 'journo' (hyperbole merchant) Carty in Sun Herald - 'there will be no green gums, blue gums or whatever colour' under the Keneally regime. Whether that means post last Cabinet of Rees to protect redgum forests we don't know
Hi Tom and xxxx,
Ms KRISTINA KENEALLY (Heffron) [5.27 p.m.]: I welcome the news that the proposed destruction of 60,000 barrels of hexachlorobenzene [HCB] waste will not take place at Botany or, indeed, in an urban area. Last week the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources announced that Orica Ltd had withdrawn its application to construct, operate and eventually decommission an HCB waste destruction facility at Botany, and that the Government has accepted a report that recommends the waste be moved out of Botany and destroyed in an alternative, remote location. This great news is the result of hard work and dedication by local community members who have fought for many years to have our concerns addressed. In June I led a delegation of community representatives to meet with the Minister for Planning to express concerns about Orica's proposal to destroy HCB waste in Botany.
The delegation I led consisted of people from the Botany, Pagewood and Hillsdale areas who are members of the community participation and review committee [CPRC], a group that was set up to oversight Orica's proposal to destroy the waste. The CPRC has been meeting for approximately seven years. I am a member of the committee. Orica proposed to use a process known as GeoMelt to destroy this highly toxic waste. When we met with the Minister we told him that we believed the previous environmental impact statement and commission of inquiry into the GeoMelt proposal failed to consider adequately several issues, including transporting the waste to another site for destruction and liability for the local community. As a result, Minister Knowles convened an independent panel of technical experts to review Orica's proposal. This is a welcome move, and shows that the Government listens to local residents' views.
The panel consisted of three scientists with a broad range of skills and expertise, including, crucially, consulting with the local community over planning and environmental issues. Throughout the duration of the work the panel consulted with the CPRC through regular meetings. The CPRC was able to give feedback and raise issues important to the community every step of the way. I am incredibly pleased that the panel report has recommended that the waste be destroyed at an alternative, remote location, that the long-term storage of the waste be addressed and that Orica lodge an environmental damage bond. This is a major win for our local community. All these issues are what our community fought for. Many residents in the City of Botany Bay participated in community meetings and in the CPRC. To them goes the credit for this great outcome.
I would like to acknowledge those community members here: Louis Carvalho, Olivera Erturk, Dina Lawes, Lynda and Garry Newman, Paul and Beverley Pickering, Julie White, Michelle Grossback, Lauren Thomas, Julie Spies, Carla Smolenski, Lil and Reg Jory, Veronica Fisher, John Tullis, Paul Brown, the chair of the CPRC, Councillor Brian Troy from the City of Botany Bay, George Collison, John Tourrier, Jane Castle, Charles and Carol Abela, Alice McCann, Julie Gennissen, Larry Collis, Craig Wunsch, and Giovanna Fuote and her sisters. Two of the long-turn residents of the CPRC are Botany resident Nancy Hillier and Maroubra resident Richard Smolenski, both of whom featured in an SBS documentary 60,000 Barrels on the HCB issue. Nancy and Richard in particular ensured that the community had many victories along the way that led to this announcement.
The CPRC demanded community involvement. They made Orica front up to the public. The community demanded a 60-day exhibition period for the environmental impact statement, which, I am advised, has never been done before. It was granted. We, the community, fought for the right of appeal to the commission of inquiry, and Minister Knowles set up the independent panel. Richard Smolenski told me, "Once we started the fight people started coming out of the woodwork." Residents from Hillsdale, the Italian community in Mascot and other newly arrived immigrants joined in with long-time residents to join the campaign. I congratulate Nancy Hillier, Richard Smolenski, community members and the rest of the CPRC. I would like to give special mention to Mayor Ron Hoenig and the City of Botany Bay, who were consistently opposed to the GeoMelt proposal, and strong advocates for the community on this issue. In addition, they made Botany town hall available for CPRC meetings. I would like to conclude with a quote from Nancy Hillier:
This is not the end of it. We won his battle, but we have to win the war. The waste has to be disposed of in an area that is not environmentally sensitive and that is not populated. The CPRC will ensure this waste is destroyed in a fit and proper manner.
A coalition of the local community, State and local government brought about this positive result, and with the CPRC we will continue to work with the Government.