How the Contaminated Sites Committee makes responsibility for remediation decisions

The Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (Act) empowers the Contaminated Sites Committee (Committee) to make decisions about who is responsible for remediation of a contaminated site.

Under the Act, the Committee has the power to determine its own procedures.  The Committee is to act in accordance to equity, good conscience and the substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms, is not bound by the rules of evidence and is to conduct its inquiries in any manner it considers appropriate.  The Committee is required to consult the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) and any other person it considers necessary to consult.

 

The Act provides little guidance on how the Committee is to make its decisions and since no other State in Australia has comparable legislation, the Committee has had to develop its own procedures for decision making.

In making a decision about a person's responsibility to remediate a site, the Committee will take into account the following:

  • The hierarchy of responsibility for the remediation of contaminated sites set out in Part 3, Division 1 of the Act.

  • All information made available to the Committee on the nature and extent of known contamination of the site, currently and historically.

  • The activities on the site which may have caused or contributed to the contamination.

  • The contents of any notice of a proposed decision that is given to a person.

  • Any previous decision made by the Committee as to responsibility for remediation of the site.

  • Any submission made to the Committee in response to a notice of a proposed decision.

  • Any reports by DER or other information that the Committee considers relevant.

For more information on how the Committee makes responsibility for remediation decisions, please click on this information sheet by Jim Malcolm, Chairman of the Contaminated Sites Committee.

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