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Duncan Basheer Hannon

- 16 Jul 2014
  • Personal Injury

LGA had dirt on toxic soil but wouldn’t tell

BY BRAD CROUCH, MEDICAL REPORTER
ADVERTISER

The Local Government Association knew a week before the local council that Clovelly Park park residents faced a contamination risk and a relocation but said nothing.

As anger grows over delays in the passing on of health fears to residents, the LGA says it was bound by confidentiality rules of the State Emergency Management Committee.

LGA chief executive Wendy Campana confirmed to The Advertisershe had been present at the State Emergency Management Committee meeting on June 25, when a planned evacuation was discussed, but that a confidentiality clause prevented her from informing Marion Council. Revelation of the delay comes as those affected by rising vapours from industrial waste seeping into groundwater look at a class-action lawsuit.

A Marion Council spokesman said the council was told of the contamination and plans to evacuate residents at 4.26pm on Wednesday of last week when the EPA contacted the council by telephone.

That came a week after the State Emergency Management Committee meeting. The Clovelly Park contamination looks increasingly likely to result in a class-action lawsuit. Peter Humphries, managing director of law firm Duncan Basheer Hannon, said such an action could be for medical expenses and losses in property values.

“You would need to identify where the pollution came from and whether it was lawful but it does lend itself to a class action,” he said. “If you can identify who did the pollution and that it was not authorised, (that) could support an action both for medical and real-estate costs.”

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