Managing Contaminated Sites

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Tabled: 7 December 2011

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 actions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last updated on 7/23/2013