The NSW government has announced an Amendment Bill as part of a new crackdown on asbestos regulation, which will see the penalty for unlawfully depositing or transporting asbestos-containing waste doubled.
The Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Asbestos Waste) Bill 2018 amendment means that the maximum fine for waste offences involving asbestos from $1 million to $2 million for corporations, and doubles the maximum fine for individuals from $250,000 to $500,000
The intention behind the amended bill is to better reflect the monetary gains when asbestos-containing material is dumped illegally. It is part of the NSW Government’s five-year draft asbestos waste strategy which is open for feedback. The plan also intends to make discarding of legal asbestos material cheaper and more accessible, while also considering installing GPS tracking on some waste vehicles.
Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the Government would also “crack down on rogue construction and demolition waste operators and provide incentives for good behaviour.”
“On the spot fines for illegally transporting or disposing of asbestos waste increase tenfold, construction and demolition waste facilities get tougher inspection and handling rules, and there’s a new, heavy fine for illegally digging up landfills.”
“It is a top priority that stronger penalties act as a deterrent and that waste facility operators improve the way they manage construction and demolition waste.”
Upton said the reforms followed comprehensive consultation with local councils, waste facility operators, industry bodies and the community.
“Poor practices were identified particularly at a number of facilities handling construction waste. That is why there are now tougher standards and procedures to safeguard the environment and community.”
Under the intended changes, construction and demolition waste facilities that handle asbestos-containing material will have tighter inspection controls by regulators and constant video monitoring, while also complying with more stringent waste storage rules and provide proof of adequate staff training.