Demand for stack rubble to be monitored

Wollongong City Councillor Vicki Curran wants an independent body to monitor the rubble of the Port Kembla Copper stack for potential contaminants.

Cr Curran, who launched a last-ditch attempt at last Monday's council meeting to delay the stack demolition, has concerns about the organisations monitoring the crushing of the rubble from the stack.

She believes a third party should be called in, to ensure the "integrity" of the testing.

"The Department of Planning, who is the lead agency on this project, they're now set to investigate the dust," Cr Curran said.

"So I do have concerns that their interest puts them at a compromised position, I'm calling for an independent review.

"I believe that we should have had an independent hygienist appointed, who would go in and take the samples themselves of the rubble on site.

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"I think our community deserves that level of independence, no conflict of interest.

"We need to be calling for an independent hygienist on that site while this process is going."

Cr Curran said she was in Port Kembla early on Thursday morning to check on some of the elderly residents who were being evacuated.

But she then left the suburb to avoid the risk of breathing in anything that may have been contained in the dust cloud that travelled over streets neighbouring the Port Kembla Copper site.

"When I was down there earlier I was concerned about the number of people without any dust masks on, " she said.

At Monday's council meeting, Cr Curran's motion to use a section of the Local Government Act to stop the stack demolition failed.

In its place, the councillors voted to write to the government requesting urgent confirmation that all appropriate planning steps had taken place.

A reply was received the day before the demolition, stating that the Planning Department "is satisfied that the conditions relating to the demolition of the stack have been met".

Cr Curran was not happy with the response as it did not come with several reports that were also requested, including an independent asbestos clearance certificate.

View of the Port Kembla stack demolition from Mount Keira. Picture: ROBERT PEET

View of the Port Kembla stack demolition from Mount Keira. Picture: ROBERT PEET

"They hadn't given us the documents that we required as guarantee of the assurance," Cr Curran said. "None of those four documents that I listed were provided."


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