Questions over gasworks remediation delay

The former gasworks site at Hamilton. Toxic Truth: More stories
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THE NSW government has been asked to explain why it has taken 30 years to remediate one of the Hunter’s most contaminated sites.

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp condemned the government and the Environment Protection Authority in a speech in Parliament on Tuesday about the former AGL Hamilton Gasworks site, after Newcastle Herald articles about planned remediation and concerns raised by two women who’d spent their childhoods there.

Mr Crakanthorp will meet with Planning Minister Rob Stokes later this month over documents showing that carcinogenic and toxic materials have been leaking from the site into groundwater for an unknown number of years.

‘‘I’m concerned about the health and wellbeing of residents who live around there,’’ Mr Crakanthorp said.

Though the NSW government had to answer questions about what action it had taken since the Environment Protection Authority declared the Gasworks a significantly contaminated site in 2011, requiring remediation under threat of prosecution, he conceded previous Labor governments had also failed to act.

‘‘The Labor Party can’t walk away from this, but as the elected MP now I am making a commitment to the people of Newcastle to get some action,’’ he said.

Mr Crakanthorp said his questions to the NSW government would include why the alternative Newcastle transport option of a Woodville Junction rail terminal with a transport interchange on the old gasworks site was so quickly dismissed.

‘‘It looks like the contamination has meant the idea of Woodville Junction has gone into the too hard basket.’’