The Department of Planning and Community Development, the
Environment Protection Authority and councils are not effectively
managing contaminated sites, and consequently cannot demonstrate
that they are reducing potentially significant risks to human
health and the environment to acceptable levels.
This audit identifies a range of cases that demonstrate the
adverse consequences that flow from a lack of accountability and
clarity, and the gaps in the regulatory framework. Most notably,
there are cases of inaction by responsible entities in dealing with
contamination; this inaction being driven in part by an undue
emphasis on avoiding legal and financial liability, rather than
protecting human health and the environment.
Significant mismanagement in at least one case has led to the
possibility that human health has been impacted as a result. The
hope is that this and the other case studies are not typical.
However, there is little assurance that this is the case.
The ability to assess and mitigate health, environmental and
financial risks associated with contamination is hampered by the
lack of complete and reliable information on the number and
location of contaminated sites, and the nature and extent of
contamination. The responsible entities have been neither proactive
nor systematic in obtaining this information. Until this
information is known, agencies cannot reliably plan and prioritise
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Last updated on 23/07/2013