Greens NSW MP and environment spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC said the Auditor General’s Report into Managing Contaminated Sites is a timely warning for the government to take the role of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seriously.
Dr Faruqi said the government must ensure that resources and management are adequate and appropriate for the EPA to fulfil its role and objectives.
Dr Faruqi said, ‘[The] report by the Auditor General confirms that the EPA is not adequately managing contaminated sites, including monitoring and public reporting.
‘The lack of adequate databases and guidance procedures clearly indicates a failure of resourcing and a dearth of adequate management systems and their systematic implementation.
‘Many communities are losing faith in our environmental regulator and whether it has the resources and the management to investigate pollution incidents and take on polluters.
‘It is absolutely essential that NSW has a strong and well-resourced environmental regulator that can vigorously protect and enhance our environment and minimise risks to human health.
‘We cannot be too cautious when human health and environmental damage is at stake.
‘NSW Parliament will soon begin an inquiry into the EPA, including case studies of some of its perceived failures, such as issues of air pollution in the Hunter, land contamination in Botany and water pollution in the Pilliga.
‘This report will certainly be another source of information for this inquiry.’
Dr Faruqi is an environmental engineer with more than 20 years’ experience in environmental management and sustainability in local government, consulting and as a researcher and academic.