The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy has spoken in Parliament, demanding answers from the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate about why it has taken so long for the EPA to act on the Kaniva toxic waste dump.
The illegal toxic waste dump is the largest ever in Victoria’s history, with 50 million litres of toxic waste threatening the local agricultural region, local waterways and the health of the local community.
The Government and EPA first became aware of the site in July 2018 but has kept it a secret from the local community for over a year.
Even now there is still no confirmation of what action has been taken against the landowner and when the site will actually be cleaned up.
Ms Kealy’s Members Statement follows a recent meeting in Kaniva where she spoke to locals about the lack of information and inaction by the government to clean up the site.
“The EPA have been dragging their feet dealing with this issue and that comes back to the Labor Government and Minister of the day,” Ms Kealy said.
“Kaniva residents need and are entitled to answers – not more smoke screens and disgraceful neglect and I am demanding that the Government and Minister finally take this situation seriously.
“It is completely unacceptable that the Andrews Labor Government insisted on keeping this a secret when it poses such a risk to the local community.
“The community still does not know how the toxic waste is stored – it is believed some is in 1000 litre plastic drums with some in 205 litre drums that might be plastic or corrosive metal.
“This toxic waste needs to be got rid of now and in a way that protects our community.
“We have all heard about other illegal waste dumps in metropolitan Melbourne and the action that is being taken to address the risk they pose.
“So why is Kaniva being put last – why is it the further you live from the Melbourne the further down the list you are in getting any action from this Government?
“I cannot believe that it has taken a year for the EPA to issue a notice to the landowner to clean up the site.
“And even then the EPA were only spurred into action because of a meeting I arranged in Kaniva for concerned locals and the resulting media that came from that.
“I realise the owner has only been recently released from jail but what would have happened if he had been in jail for another 20 years – would we have had to wait until then to get any action?
“There are a range of questions that the Minister must answer and has not, including:
- What is the toxic waste dumped on site?
- How much is there?
- When is it going to be cleaned up and removed from site?
- Why has it taken the EPA so long to respond?
“I will not rest until there are answers provided to these questions, the site is totally cleaned up and any risk to the Kaniva community is removed.”