24.3 C
Byron Shire
December 5, 2022

Orica fined more than $750,000 for pollution

Latest News

So you think someone needs a puppy for Christmas?

If you’re thinking about giving your loved one a puppy as a gift this Christmas, Dogs Australia urges you to think twice.

Other News

World AIDS Day – time to end transmission

Over 40 million people have died worldwide of AIDS over the last 41 years and ending the transmission of HIV is the aim of a specialist taskforce being set up by the Federal Government announced today on World AIDS Day 2022. 

Bangalow Bread: great bread, in Bangalow

Simon Haslam Yep, the name says it all, Bangalow Bread make bread in Bangalow. But as anyone who’s perused the glutinous...

Lismore hears of Grantham relocation

Jamie Simmonds, the man who directed the relocation of the town of Grantham in Qld, shared his story with Lismore residents last week.

Byron paramedics

Our health services are seriously under-resourced, wait times at emergency departments are out of control, nurses have been on...

Pianos delivered, for the people!

Following the devastating 2022 floods, Pianos for the People answered the call to bring music to the people of the Northern Rivers. 

Strong winds and good tides set up a race day of fast sailing on the Tweed River

Matt Andrews with his trusty crew puts Powder Monkeys through its paces. Photo supplied. A big incoming tide and a...

Chemical giant Orica has been ordered to pay more than $750,000 in fines following pollution incidents. (file pic)
Chemical giant Orica has been ordered to pay more than $750,000 in fines following pollution incidents. (file pic)

Chemical giant Orica has been hit with more than $750,000 in penalties for a series of pollution incidents, including the 2011 leakage of toxic hexavalent chromium near Newcastle.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) said the total sum handed down by the Land and Environment Court on Monday was the ‘highest penalty’ that has been handed down for a matter that it prosecuted.

‘The EPA is pleased with this outcome today; it does represent a significant penalty for Orica for a series of events that really did concern the local communities, particularly in Newcastle but also for Botany,’ EPA chief environmental regulator Mark Gifford told reporters after the decision was handed down.

The EPA launched legal action against Orica following seven pollution incidents between October 2010 and December 2011.

Six of these occurred at the chemical giant’s Kooragang Island manufacturing plant near Newcastle in NSW, while one was at its Botany site in Sydney’s south in September 2011.

The most controversial and highly publicised was on August 8, 2011 when one kilogram of toxic Chromium 6, or hexavalent chromium, was released into the atmosphere through steam from the Kooragang plant.

While the court heard the effects turned out to be negligible, the EPA said it caused real fear and distress.

‘People freaked out, the media freaked out, the government freaked out,’ barrister for the EPA Stephen Rushton SC told the court in a hearing in 2012. ‘There was a parliamentary inquiry.’

As Orica had pleaded guilty to charges relating to this and other incidents, the hearing in 2012 was to determine the penalties that should be imposed.

In handing down her judgment on Monday, Justice Rachel Ann Pepper ordered that Orica pay a range of penalties, ranging from around $31,000 to $175,000 per incident.

This money will pay for environment programs, including monitoring the health of the Hunter River, which runs through Newcastle, and a wetland rehabilitation project.

Justice Pepper ordered Orica to advertise the penalties and judgment against the company in numerous media outlets and to pay the EPA’s legal costs.

Mr Gifford said the incidents had forced changes in the EPA, following criticism it was slow to act.

‘”The government essentially re-established the EPA as a result of that Orica incident [involving hexavalent chromium],’ Mr Gifford told reporters.

He said this had led to improvements in notifications and better communication between Orica and the community.

Orica global head of manufacturing Richard Hoggard said the company ‘regretted’ the incidents in 2010 and 2011.

He said it had invested more than $200 million in the Kooragang site in the last three years, $95 million of which went to environmental improvements.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Handball bouncing kids back after the floods

Following the 2022 floods, Albert Park Public School teacher Troy Davies had an idea to bring about a bit of much-needed fun into students’ lives by suggesting the handball competition to beat them all.

Pianos delivered, for the people!

Following the devastating 2022 floods, Pianos for the People answered the call to bring music to the people of the Northern Rivers. 

Migrant workers exploited and ripped off

Unions NSW say that a firewall between the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Department of Home Affairs is needed to protect migrant workers from deportation when they report exploitation, as new data reaffirms rife underpayment across Australia.  

Council imposes development restrictions on Linnaeus

The plan to rezone part of Broken Head’s Linnaeus Estate in a bid to prevent further development proposals on the site has taken a step forward, with Byron councillors unanimously supporting the move.