Toxic dump cover-up revealed

Issue 

Toxic dump cover-up revealed

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — Conservationists and the Queensland Greens have called for a full inquiry into the Gurulmundi toxic waste dump after a government expert revealed tight restrictions had been placed on his review of the impact of the dump.

Dr Rien Habermehl, a principal research scientist with the Australian Geological Research Organisation, said on January 12 that the project should not have been allowed to proceed.

He said that limitations placed on his review of the Queensland Water Resources report on the land-fill's impact on the Great Artesian Basin's water supply had "severely constrained and predetermined to some extent" his review of the Gurulmundi site, 30 km north of Miles on the western Darling Downs.

Dr Habermehl said "far more important issues" were excluded from the review, including the possibility of leakage of toxic material into rock layers and eventual flow into water supplies.

People Against Toxic Chemical Hazards (PATCH) spokesperson David Hinds said Dr Habermehl's research — if it had not been restricted — could have stopped the dump.

He said serious construction problems had delayed work on the Gurulmundi pit, which was supposed to receive its first load of toxic waste in September last year.

PATCH president Jim Richards said, "It became obvious to me that the state government is having great difficulty in justifying the construction of this toxic dump that they have legislated to force on the people of Miles".