FORRESTFIELD–AIRPORT LINK — SOIL
1052. Hon Dr STEVE THOMAS to the Minister for Environment:
enough, I refer to PFAS-contaminated soil excavated from the Forrestfield–Airport
Link and the answers to questions without notice 903 and 1032 about the
material transferred to the Kenwick rail freight facility project, which
confirmed that the Public Transport Authority has received no payment for the
spoil from the FAL main works contractor or any other entity on the Kenwick
rail freight facility project, but plans to pay $2 million to that contractor
to take the spoil to be used at the Kenwick rail freight facility project, and
to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulations guidance on waste,
titled ''Factsheet—Assessing whether material is waste''.
(1) Can the
minister confirm that the DWER document ''Factsheet—Assessing
whether material is waste'' states —
material is unwanted or excess to requirements, viewed from the perspective of
its source/producer, the material is waste'';
(b) ''the fact that the receiver of the
material considers it useful (e.g. to fill their land) and economically valuable
(e.g. as a substitute for purchased fill material) does not mean that the
material is not waste''; and
is no requirement that material must be environmentally harmful in order to be
(2) If yes to
(1), given the PTA is paying the main FAL contractor to take the spoil away, do
these requirements apply to the private sector and not to the PTA and the
assessment has DWER made of this transaction to determine whether the contaminated
spoil is therefore waste?
(4) Given the PTA
has paid to have this material taken from the FAL project, and no entity
working on the Kenwick rail freight facility project has paid for it, under
what criteria does the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation
consider this spoil not to be waste?
(5) Given the
driving force for changing the waste definition in soil re-use was the Eclipse
court decisions of 2016 and 2017, in which the court determined that the
definition of waste includes ''anything left over or superfluous, as
excess material, by-products etc., not of use for work in hand'', why is
the government now allowing its own PTA to operate in conflict with that
decision and the new waste rules it is applying to the private sector?
PRESIDENT: Minister, before you
respond, I am just going to remind the member of standing order 105(1)(a).
Questions need to be concise. I am hoping that the response will be a bit more
concise than the question.
STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
Indeed, Madam President.
am advised that answering this question represents a substantial body of work,
which is not possible in the time frame given. I give an undertaking that I will
provide an answer to the honourable member by Thursday, 26 September