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October 22, 2018

Wollongong MP, Paul Scully, has today written to the Minister for the Environment, Gabrielle Upton MP, asking for an explanation as to why the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has been unwilling to reassure the Port Kembla community over the potential health risks from a clinker pollution incident in March.


A $15,000 fine was imposed on Australian Amalgamated Terminals (AAT) by the EPA.


It appears that this fine relates to a pollution incident between 19-26 March this year as clinker was unloaded from the bulk carrier, Port Alberni, at AAT’s berth 103 at the Port of Port Kembla. 


According to a media report the incident was reported by a member of the public, not AAT as is required under legislative and regulatory requirements.


Mr Scully has requested the EPA – in consultation with NSW Health if necessary – assure the Port Kembla local community that this pollution incident posed no risk to human health.


If it has there must be a mechanism put into place where concerned local residents, and workers subject to the risk, can access appropriate medical advice and services to minimise any risk to their health from this pollution incident.


Comments attributable to Paul Scully MP:


“The apparent unwillingness of the EPA to reassure the people of Port Kembla over the potential health risks associated with the clinker pollution incident in March is not acceptable.


“I have written to the Minister for the Environment today requesting that the EPA, in association with NSW Health if necessary, publicly assure my community that there health has not been compromised because of this pollution incident.


“If there has been a risk to health, there should be information made available immediately to the local community so they can access medical advice and services to minimise and treat any concerns that could be related to this pollution incident.  If there has not been, there is no reason why the regulator cannot just say so.


“A significant fine has been imposed on Australian Amalgamated Terminals for this incident, which did not report the incident as is required under NSW legislation.


“The Port Kembla community, which is on the door-step of heavy industry, must be reassured by the EPA and NSW Health when any pollution incident takes place, especially when incidents involve fine particulates that could have health effects.


“If the EPA will not tell us what is going on, how can we be expected to have any confidence in the regulator and regulatory processes?”