A Mudgee company and its director were fined a total of $138,000 and ordered to pay costs of $50,000 by the Land and Environment Court in December 2016 after the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) prosecuted the company and Director for providing false or misleading information about waste.
Complete Asbestos Removal, carries out asbestos removal, demolition and waste transport work, and was engaged by Cobbora Holding Company Pty Ltd to demolish buildings on 12 properties in the Dunedoo area and to lawfully dispose of the resulting waste, including asbestos waste.
EPA Chair and CEO Barry Buffier said the EPA takes a dim view of companies and directors that provide false or misleading information about waste.
“Complete Asbestos Removal was required to provide Cobbora Holding Company with proof of disposal of the waste and reports to certify that all visible asbestos had been removed from each property.
“The director of the company created false asbestos clearance certificates and false weighbridge dockets purportedly recording the disposal of asbestos waste at the Mudgee and Dubbo waste facilities and provided these documents to Cobbora Holding Company. Complete Asbestos Removal later provided some of the false clearance certificates to the EPA during its investigation.
“Each clearance certificate contained forged signatures and made false representations about what checks had been carried out for asbestos at the Dunedoo properties.
“These checks are in place to ensure that asbestos is appropriately managed and disposed of, and to protect the community and environment.
“The EPA is sending a strong message to those who chose to do the wrong thing – you will be caught and the penalties are substantial,” Mr Buffier said.
Complete Asbestos Removal Pty Ltd was convicted and fined $24,000 for providing false or misleading information to the EPA and ordered to pay the EPA’s legal costs of $25,000. The company’s sole director was convicted of three offences of providing false or misleading information about waste to another company, fined a total of $114,000 and ordered to pay the EPA’s legal costs of $25,000.
Justice Preston found that although the evidence did not establish that any environmental harm was caused by the offences, it was foreseeable that harm could have occurred as a result of some of the offences.
All asbestos from the Dunedoo properties has now been lawfully disposed.
Providing false or misleading information about waste is an offence under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. The matter went before the Land and Environment Court on 16 December 2016.