A Newcastle demolition company and two individuals have been fined a combined $28,000 for dumping 20 tonnes of building and demolition material in bushland at Richmond Vale.
Integrity Newcastle Pty Ltd was fined $16,000 and the individuals penalised $8000 and $4000 respectively for dumping the materials from house demolitions at New Lambton and Kahibah.
The fines came after investigators from the Hunter/Central Coast Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) Squad inspected a rural property at Richmond Vale in May and found about 20 tonnes of building and demolition material had been dumped in bushland. Some of the waste had already been burned.
Unique items located within the waste piles were identified by the owners of the two houses, who had contracted Integrity Newcastle to have waste from the demolitions lawfully disposed of through the company's business name Integrity Tree and Demolition.
When interviewed, it is alleged the director of the company was unable to provide a reasonable explanation as to how the waste material he had been contracted to take to a waste facility turned up in bushland at Richmond Vale.
Integrity Newcastle Pty Ltd was issued two fines for illegal dumping of the building and demolition waste, totaling $16,000.
The sole director of Integrity Newcastle Pty Ltd was also issued two fines in his own name totaling a further $8,000.
One of the drivers used by the company to transport waste to the site has also been fined $4000. A company cannot direct an employee to commit an illegal act, so behaviour such as dumping waste in the bush also attracts personal liability for the driver.
The company has also been issued a Clean Up Notice requiring the waste to be removed and lawfully disposed of at a waste facility. If this does not occur, further fines may apply.
The coordinator of the Hunter/Central Coast RID Squad Rob Robertson said this matter showed that alleged offenders "do not recognise lines on a map".
"This offence occurred in Cessnock, from house demolitions in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. The benefits of having a team of very experienced investigators, working across council boundaries, cannot be overstated."
The Hunter/Central Coast RID Squad is a joint program between local councils and the NSW Environment Protection Authority, partly funded by the Waste Levy.
Meanwhile, the RID Squad's host council, Lake Macquarie, has moved to ask the EPA to enter into a new hosting arrangement with preferably the Hunter Joint Organisation to take over the host council function.
The notice of motion was put up by councillor Kevin Baker after receiving advice from staff advising him of "material organisational and operational issues" that require a change to business as usual and a change of host council.
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