Production of Documents: Potentially Contaminated Land Advisory Committee Report (20.02.2013)
Written on the 7 March 2013
I note that that date is within a couple of weeks. As Mr O'Donohue pointed out in responding to Mr Tee's previous motion, that is a relatively short time frame in which to turn around such a report.
In relation to the issue at hand, however, I think we all acknowledge that contaminated land sites are a very important issue to the community -- they pose a health risk to not only humans but also flora and fauna.
There are real environmental concerns for various communities. Ms Hartland said she has had an interest in this for a number of years; I think most of us are very concerned about ensuring that contaminated waste sites are looked at. It is important that it be recognised that the government takes the issue very seriously, that a number of government departments are involved and that it needs a whole-of-government approach.
The Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, has been very effective in this area. In taking a look at what was done under the previous government, he is looking at the issue with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), developing various risk management tools for contaminated sites and working in conjunction with other government departments. He should be commended for the work he has done.
Getting back to the issue Mr Tee's motion raises, the matters raised in the Potentially Contaminated Land Advisory Committee report are currently being considered as part of the response in relation to the role of the Department of Sustainability and Environment and the EPA and where there is that potential for crossover into the planning portfolio. I reiterate that there are a number of departments taking an interest in this, as they should be. As I understand it, the government is actively developing and finalising the EPA contaminated land strategy and it is anticipated that will be released within the coming period. I think members can be reassured that that is in hand. The strategy will focus on reforms within the EPA's operations to improve its management of contaminated land. There are various elements within that strategy that will improve the provision of information in relation to an audit system, as has been mentioned, and other areas of review within the EPA.
As I said at the outset, I think the community takes these issues seriously, as does the government, and I thank Mr Tee for bringing the motion to the house. The government will not be opposing it.