Mr MORRIS (Mornington) (09:37): This morning we awoke to revelations that yet again we have a toxic waste crisis in this state. Of course that is nothing new given the incompetence of this government, but the scale is epic even by Labor’s standards.
Twenty-seven million dollars of taxpayers money has already been spent on 13 sites, with potentially another $76 million required for full mitigation. A site in the west of the state, containing an estimated 50 million litres of chemical waste, may cost an additional $125 million to clean up.
Worryingly, there is talk of simply encasing the waste in a concrete shell and leaving the chemicals permanently on site. That option must not be considered for one second. That site must be cleaned up, and it must be cleaned up without delay.
WorkSafe have spent $15 million from internal sources and expect to spend a further $41 million from their existing budget. That is $66 million that was collected to promote and enforce workplace safety, not to clean up toxic waste dumps that should never have been allowed to build up in the first place.
The Environment Protection Authority Victoria and WorkSafe say they will pursue the issue in the courts. Good luck with that.
These stockpiles could have done, and still may do, enormous damage to the environment and potentially place lives at risk. It is no good having rules and regulations if you do not enforce them.
Labor has been in power for almost 16 of the last 20 years. This has happened on their watch. They have failed to enforce their own rules.
There is no excuse.