Date of offence
Between 11 January 2011 and 01 June 2021
Type of offence

1. Caused an environmental hazard at Benetook from 01 February 2015 to 01 June 2021, contrary to s.27A(1)(c).

2. Unlawful deposit of industrial waste at Benetook from 11 January 2011 to 18 Febrruary 2015, contrary to s.27A(2).

Background of offence

The accused leased part of the property located at Allotment 54 Benetook, Victoria, from around 2001 - 2015. In around 2005 he began collecting tyres from businesses around Mildura and storing  them at the property. He did so for a profit. Over the course of 10 years (until 2015) he had collected and stored around 108,000 tyres on the property. In February 2015 the landowner found out about all the tyres, told the accused to stop and to remove them. Whilst he stopped adding any more tyres to the property, he didn't remove any.

The landowner died in 2020 and the property passed to the executors of the estate (the landowner's sister and niece). When they found out about the tyres on the property, they engaged lawyers to help get the accused to remove the tyres. They were unsuccessful and hence engaged a company to remove the tyres themselves. The clean up began in around May 2021 and finished in July 2022. The total cost of the clean up was $894,657.77, which was borne entirely by the landowner's estate. Around 1500 tonnes of tyres were removed.

The premises was susceptible to wild fire and there was a therefore a state of danger posed to the environment should such a vast amount of tyres catch fire. That hazard existed from at least February 2015 to May 2021, when the clean up began. 

Date of court hearing
14 March 2024
Date of court order
15 March 2024
Court magistrate
M P Coghlan
Court location
Proceeding number

Court orders made

Environmental Hazard Offence:

With conviction, fined $20,000 with $4,798.00 in costs to the EPA.

Unlawful Deposit Offence:

Community Corrections Order to complete 200 hours of community service within 12 months, and ordered to pay $894,657.77 compensation to the Estate of Gwenda Smith for the cost of the clean-up.

Reviewed 4 April 2024