Tougher penalties are needed for asbestos contamination, says mayor

Tougher penalties are needed for asbestos contamination, says mayor
Image: Rozelle Parklands has been closed to the public since the discovery of asbestos. Bianca de Marchi, AAP Image



Following the asbestos fiasco in the Rozelle Parklands, Inner West Council is calling on the NSW Parliament to legislate tougher penalties for businesses and individuals who cause asbestos contamination.

The calls come after the council launched legal action against contractors John Holland and CPB to expedite the clean-up process.

Since asbestos was discovered in the mulch of the parklands, the park has been fenced off and inaccessible to the public.

Mayor Darcy Byrne is now calling on the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to have stronger powers, after previously saying that granting the contractors an extension for the clean-up left EPA “looking like a toothless tiger”.

“The Rozelle Parklands debacle and city-wide asbestos crisis shows that the penalties for asbestos pollution are just too soft as it stands,” Mayor Byrne said.

“Almost 3 months since asbestos was first discovered in Rozelle no one has yet been held accountable and the Parklands remains closed indefinitely,” he continued.

An attempt to clean up the contamination of the Rozelle Parklands was previously set for 29th February, but has now been pushed back to March 29.

The EPA needs new powers and more resources to crack down on asbestos pollution, the mayor said.

“There’s clearly a systemic problem with the supply chain of recycled mulch and tougher penalties are needed to send a message to businesses that contaminating playgrounds and parks is unacceptable.”

Greens Member for Balmain Kobi Shetty had previously expressed to City Hub her dissatisfaction with the prolonged closure of the park, saying “The community is rightly outraged about this delay.”

She promised to keep pressing the NSW Government on the reopening of the park, adding “We need to determine how this contamination happened and what can be done in future to prevent similar incidents.”


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