Mayor of The Hills Shire, Councillor Yvonne Keane, has written to the Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage and Assistant Minister for Planning, Mark Speakman MP, calling for an urgent review of the dumping levy for asbestos.
The call follows a recent incident in which building contractors followed legal procedures for removing asbestos from a property, then dumped it on a nearby vacant block of land rather than taking it to an approved facility to avoid the high cost.
As the dumped material is on private land (a vacant lot in a new subdivision) the removal cost will fall on the landowner if the dumper cannot be identified.
Mayor Keane said she was seeking consideration by the Minister to reduce the S.88 Levy for asbestos to curb the deadly fibrous construction material from being tipped onto roadsides, bushland, parks and, sometimes, even in the middle of isolated roads or new subdivisions in The Sydney Hills.
“We all know that asbestos poses serious risks if not appropriately handled and transported and must be disposed of correctly,” Mayor Keane said.
“However, it seems that some construction and demolition operators are avoiding the substantial costs for disposing of asbestos waste by dumping it illegally – or perhaps they are discouraged by the limited number of places legally able to accept it.
“The significant penalties faced by those caught dumping asbestos waste do not appear to be minimising the problem, and an innovative solution is needed now,” Mayor Keane added.
Councillor Alan Haselden agreed.
“Illegal dumping is a persistent problem for our Shire and while we understand the need for landfill charges, it seems counterintuitive that we need higher fees for a noxious material,” Councillor Haselden said.
“Asbestos is known to cause serious health problems and we should be encouraging, not discouraging, people to dispose of it properly.
“Illegal dumping is extraordinarily difficult to police in the best of circumstances and the situation is compounded when the material dumped is harmful to people,” Councillor Haselden added.