LINK — SOIL CONTAMINATION
1094. Hon Dr STEVE THOMAS to the Leader of the House
representing the Minister for Public Sector Management:
I refer to PFAS-contaminated soil
excavated from the Forrestfield–Airport Link and to information
obtained under freedom of information laws that revealed an email exchange from
21 March to 27 March 2018, which were described as emails between the Department
of Premier and Cabinet and the Public Transport Authority and a third party as
(1) Who from DPC
wrote an email on 21 March 2018, apparently to someone in the consulting firm
RPS Group, stating —
I note your comments on the
Robustness of the Assessment, but, to be very clear, I do want it included.
(2) Why was DPC
attempting to bully the consultant RPS to change its opinion in its document ''Forrestfield–Airport
Link Assessment of the Suitability of Perth Airport as a Site for Reuse of
Tunnel Spoil from the Forrestfield–Airport Link'' by writing its
own DPC version of section 5.4?
(3) When RPS
responded to the proposed DPC rewrite of section 5.4 entitled ''Robustness
of the Assessment'' in an email saying, ''For the most part we're
not able to take on board the comments/inserted text'', did DPC simply
ignore that advice and continue to make up its own section 5.4?
(4) Who in DPC then distributed the marked-up document
''with DPC changes and comments'' on 27 March 2018 and
stated in the email —
However, you will see that I have
reinserted a (slightly edited) version of the ''robustness of the
assessment'' section that we prepared earlier. I am concerned that this
was dismissed by RPS previously on a wholesale basis �
(5) Does DPC
regularly attempt to intimidate environmental consultants and environmental
regulators to get outcomes in the interest of the state, and who in DPC is
engaged in this behaviour?
Point of Order
O'BRIEN: Could I move that the member's time be extended!
The PRESIDENT: No. That is not a point of order. I realise that
the matter is of significance to the member, but, again, I remind members that
questions need to be concise. If you want an appropriate answer, you need to
think about what you are asking for. I think some parts of that question might
have been seeking an opinion as well as fact.
Question without Notice Resumed
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question.
premise on which the question is based is incorrect. The Public Transport
Authority engaged a consultant to complete two reports regarding the proposal
to re-use tunnel spoil containing trace amounts of PFAS from the Forrestfield–Airport
Link project at the Perth Airport site. One of the reports was a standard
technical site-specific risk assessment intended for a technical audience. The
second report was a high-level strategic document that provided an assessment
of the suitability of the tunnel spoil for re-use at the Perth Airport site
from an environmental perspective. This second report was intended to be for a non-technical audience. The Department of the
Premier and Cabinet worked with the consultant to refine the strategic
document, including providing advice to ensure that it was sufficiently high
level and addressed the strategic issues in an appropriate manner for the
intended non-technical audience. The department worked constructively with the
consultant on this process and the consultant remained responsible for preparing
and issuing the final report.