The Parliamentary committee which was looking into the costs of remediating coal ash dams has handed down its findings today. Many local people and groups, including myself, gave evidence to the inquiry when it held local hearings last year.
The committee’s findings are good but are mostly what I’ve been calling on for many years.
I’ve posted a link to the final report below, but some of the significant findings include:
- That the decision to close Myuna Bay Sport and Rec Centre was made with “no transparency” and communication with the local community “was inadequate”. No kidding! It also said that Origin Energy, Dams Safety NSW and the NSW Office of Sport also failed in the consultation stakes.
Among the committee’s recommendations are:
- That State departments including Transport for NSW and Infrastructure NSW “mandate” the use of recycled coal ash in government infrastructure projects, including roads;
• Planning NSW establish a taskforce which includes state agencies, unions, industry and community groups to develop a new strategy that will see at least 80% of coal ash recycled;
• That the State Govt promote the “circular economy” which would be created by recycling coal ash;
• That the EPA install air and groundwater monitoring sites around ash dams;
• That the EPA publish breaches of environmental protection laws in real time;
• That NSW Health conduct a health study in towns near ash dams to determine any impacts of coal ash on human health.
The committee has not been able to determine the key question around the cost of remediating these huge ash dams in the future, or who will pay for it. It has simply said that the figures can’t be calculated yet and that more investigations will need to occur.
At the very least, the inquiry has recognised the Government’s role here in the clean-up. The Government owned these sites long before the likes of Origin and Delta and they dumped most of the coal ash in these dams, so they should have a significant role in cleaning them up!
The full report can be found here
, with the findings and recommendations summarised on pages 7-10.