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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

1 September 2006

Carpenter Government admits health and safety bungle

An admission by the State Environment Minister Mark McGowan that his predecessor had endangered the health of West Australians has exposed the Carpenter Labor Government’s failure to protect West Australians and the gross negligence of one of its ministers.

Media reports today reveal former Environment Minister Judy Edwards “inadvertently” allowed Midland Brick to increase its hydrogen fluoride kiln stack emissions to five times the proper limits for two years.

Mr McGowan has been forced to correct this major bungle by Ms Edwards and has directed his department to:

“…amend Midland Brick’s operating licence to unwind emissions concessions inadvertently granted by his predecessor Judy Edwards two years earlier.”

(The West Australian, 1 September 2006, p.6)

It is unacceptable for the Carpenter Government to simply abandon residents in the Swan Valley, Guildford and Hazelmere who have potentially been exposed to risky levels of emissions for two years while the State Labor Government ‘accidentally’ relaxed Midland’s emissions controls.

The Carpenter Government was clearly asleep at the wheel and may well have jeopardised the health of West Australians through its actions.

In comparison, brickworks recently approved for the Perth Airport site by the Australian Government has 60 strict environmental conditions – the safest level of any brickworks in Australia.

Those 60 conditions were necessary because the State Labor Government has an inadequate monitoring regime, yet Mr McGowan has the gall to criticise the Australian Government for the brickworks approval with strict environmental conditions.

The Australian Government’s stands by its commitment to strong environmental regulations and its concern for local communities.

Media contact:
Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

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