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Hartcher should stop cheap stunts



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22 February 1993

HARTCRER SHOULD STOP CHEAP STUNTS

The NSW Environment Minister's concern about Australian

Defence Indlustries St Marys site is nothing more than a cheap

stunt, said :Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence,

Mr/ Roger Price.

Mr Price was responding to reports that Mr Chris Hartcher, NSW

Environment Minister, has ordered the NSW Environmental

Protection Agency to investigate the site.

"It seems Mr Flartcher wants to make an issue of the site to score

some cheap points," said Mr Price.

"The most dangerous thing about this is that he is needlessly --and/ irresponsibly -- whipping up community concern over the issue, whilst one of his own organisations, the NSW Environment

Protection Agency (EPA), has been consulted all along the way.

"Indeed ADI have bent over backwards to ensure that the highest

possible standards are met and that all relevant authorities are kept fully informed, including the EPA.

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As Parliamentary Secretary to , the Minister for Defence, Mr Price is responsible for issues involving ADZ. Mr Price has also been active in-having the -waste removed from the site.

„Mr Hartcher claims to have had a long running interest in the St Marys site but has neither approached the Minister for Defence, Senator Ray, nor myself, to obtain , further 3nfor'mation about the waste storage..

' r Hartcher also absurdly claims that he cannot rely on Federal Government assurances 'about site safety.

"Yet even the NSW Land and Environment Court in February last

year gave the site a clean bill of health.

"The report said -- and I quote -- "There is no satisfactory evidence before the Court that the material at the St Marys site cannot -a s a matter of public safety - be let , for some time in the future.'

(LEO Ruling 5 Feb 92, p.9).

"If an independent court states that, the site is not endangering the public then why is the NSW Environment Minister making such a fuss?

"Clearly Mr Hatcher is trying to score political points by scaring local residents.,' ...I3

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Mr Price said the waste was well protected within a concrete

bunker with walls 33 centimetres thick, and being farther protected by a chain wire fence some 15 metres distant from the walls of the bunker.'

Within the fenced area some low levels of Gamma radiation are

detectable close to the walls of the bunker, but this poses no

danger to employees or, local residents outside this fence.

"A DI also has in place a program of monitoring which, as I have

been advised, has been fully compliant with NSW requirements.

"ADI has said that these readings are well within acceptable

levels. ADI is also of the view that'the waste Poses no danger to

its staff or nearby residents.

"As a Minister, Mr Hartcher should conduct his affairs in a

professional and responsible. manner. .

"tin the issue of waste at St Marys you -could only say that Mr

Hartcher's performance has been disappointing."

MEDIA, CONTACT: Eddie Music

F: (02) 625 4344