Clean up cash not in sight

Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris is worried there will be no funding from the State Government to clean up contaminated sites. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d401841
Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris is worried there will be no funding from the State Government to clean up contaminated sites. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d401841

‘There is no money and not $1 has been suggested to remediate these sites,’ WA Local Government Association president Troy Pickard, a Liberal Party member, said.

Last year the Department of Environment and Conservation listed 23 riverside parks or development sites created with building, industrial and municipal waste that required investigating to see if chemicals, oils and pesticides were leaching into the estuary.

Many of the sites, which include Elizabeth Quay in Perth and the new Burswood stadium, were previously municipal dumps where potentially unmonitored waste may have been tipped until as late as the early 1980s.

WALGA’s Swan-Canning Priority Plan calls for money to identify any leaks from the sites and their clean-ups, which have been estimated to cost up to $30 million for each location.

However, the Contaminated Sites Act has a hierarchy of who should do the work and cover its cost, starting with landfill contractors who after 2006 were immediately responsible, followed by the sites’ ‘owners’, including councils and State Government agencies that now operate the areas as parks or for development projects.

‘Local councils and other agencies are responsible for investigating and, where necessary, remediating the former landfills they manage, as the landowner,’ a DEC statement said.

The department’s list includes a potentially contaminated site used to dump municipal and hazardous household waste for about 25 years until the early 1980s by Mosman Park council near Fairbairn Street, south of the McCabe Street depot near the river.

Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said if the $15 million cost of remediating the nearby Minim Cove development was used as a baseline, residents could face a 200 per cent increase in rates if the council had to clean up the Fairbairn site.

Treasurer Troy Buswell said Budget details would be announced in August.