For immediate use by media outlets.

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined a Benalla particle board manufacturer more than $8,000 over stockpiles of combustible materials that failed to meet with fire suppression requirements.

EPA North East Region Manager Renee Palmer says the company had been ordered to make the stockpiles comply with EPA requirements and was given extra time, but did not meet the deadline.

The company, Monsbent Pty Ltd, trading as D & R Henderson, chips timber for manufacturing into chipboard, and under the Environment Protection Act has a responsibility take reasonable steps to eliminate risk to human health and the environment.

“This is not just about paperwork; there were stockpiles of combustible material that were too big and too close together, which would pose a significant challenge for CFA brigades responding to any fire on the premises,” Ms Palmer said.

“The large exposed surface areas of materials in those stockpiles and the available ventilation could lead to rapid fire development and hazardous levels of smoke affecting nearby homes and businesses,” she said.

“EPA issued a Pollution Abatement Notice (PAN) requiring the company to bring the stockpiles into compliance, but the deadline passed and EPA officers using an aerial drone observed stockpiles that still did not comply with the regulations,” she said.

“EPA remedial notices are legally enforceable instructions to take the required actions by a set deadline, and must be taken seriously,” Ms Palmer said.

The company, Monsbent Pty Ltd, trading as D & R Henderson, chips timber for manufacturing into chipboard.

The fine, issued under the Environment Protection Act 1970, will cost the company $8,261.  This is the fourth infringement issued to the company in the past 2 years.

“All businesses must understand their responsibilities to the environment and the community, and make all reasonable efforts to ” she said.


The EPA drone inspection of the company’s factory, on Yarrawonga-Benalla Road, Benalla, took place on 8 April 2021.

Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2006, the company has the right to have the decision to issue the infringement notice reviewed or alternatively to have the matter heard and determined by a court.

Members of the public can report pollution by calling EPA’s 24 hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).

Earlier EPA media releases involving the same company can be found here:

Reviewed 9 August 2021