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Monday, 9 September 2019
Page: 2038

Mr CONROY (Shortland) (13:54): I recently met with the Boolaroo Action Group regarding ongoing lead contamination issues in the suburbs surrounding the former Pasminco lead smelter, especially in Boolaroo, Speers Point and Argenton. I want to thank the group for providing me with an update on recent developments and for their passionate activism for their area.

Whilst the contamination issues are primarily the responsibility of the New South Wales government and the Lake Macquarie City Council, in my six years in this place I've followed developments on this issue closely as it affects many thousands of my current constituents. I also think there is a possible role for the Commonwealth regarding insolvency laws and in preventing companies winding up and then re-emerging in a new form to continue their highly profitable operations. The actions of Pasminco and Zinifex were a disgrace. They constructed their corporate affairs to escape their legal and moral obligations to remediate land of residents in that area.

I want to take this opportunity to welcome the recent announcement by the New South Wales government that they will compulsorily acquire the site. Hopefully this will lead to much needed development, as several international companies have shown interest. I urge the state government to use any profits generated from this land development to help residents with remediation issues. These residents face remediation costs of up to $100,000. It is completely unfair that the burden should fall on them rather than on the state government or the company that caused the problem in the first place.