Four offenders have been ordered to contribute a total of $8000 to a court fund in the Swan Hill Magistrates’ Court yesterday after admitting their involvement in taking industrial waste from a former hotel site in Lalbert and dumping it on a farm in a nearby town.
On June 13 2014, EPA officers witnessed Nev Murray Excavations Pty Ltd load broken concrete, bricks and scrap metal from the former Lalbert Hotel site onto a truck and dump it on a farm on Frees Road, in Wangie.
The court heard other items dumped included plaster boards, plastic fencing, house waste and stuffed toys.
The Lalbert Hotel, located 40km south of Swan Hill, was destroyed by a wind storm on 7 August 2013.
When the EPA officers approached the truck driver at the farm, he stated the owner of the former Lalbert Hotel, Steven John Green, instructed him to take the waste from the hotel site in Lalbert and dispose of it in Wangie.
As part of its investigations, EPA visited the Lalbert Hotel site shortly after and found the remaining waste was similar to what was dumped in Wangie.
The court heard Steven John Green had contacted the owner of the Wangie property – where the waste was dumped – to see if he “had a place out of town that he was able to store the remainder of the building material from the Lalbert Hotel…”
The owner of the Wangie property, Kinkoora Farms, agreed to his request and Mr Green hired Nev Murray Excavations to carry out the work.
The EPA officers issued Mr Green with a clean-up notice requiring he remove all industrial waste from the Wangie site. Mr Green complied with the notice by taking the waste to the Culgoa landfill site.
Steven John Green, Lalbert Hotel Pty Ltd and Kinkoora Farms Pty Ltd all pleaded guilty to two charges of depositing waste at a site not licensed to accept industrial material, an offence under section 27a(2)(a) of the Environment Protection Act 1970.
Nev Murray Excavations Pty Ltd also pleaded guilty to one count of depositing waste at a site not licensed to accept.
All offenders were place on an adjourned undertaking on the condition they contribute to the court fund.
Steven John Green was ordered to contribute $3000 to the court fund, Lalbert Hotel was also ordered to contribute $3000 while Kinkoora Farms and Nev Murray were both ordered to contribute $1000 each to the court fund.
EPA Executive Director of Regional Services, Damian Wells said the court case could have been avoided if the waste had been delivered to a site licensed to accept industrial waste.
“Operators need to ensure waste is disposed of through the right channels or risk facing the consequences,” he said.
“The court case, not to mention the stress associated with it all, shows shortcuts are not worth it.”
'Illegal dumping such as this damages Victoria's landscape and leaves an ugly clean-up legacy for others down the track to fix. This behaviour is unacceptable and offenders will be vigorously pursued by the EPA.”
Mr Wells encouraged the community to report pollution to EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or by visiting www.epa.vic.gov.au