$25,000 fine for unlicenced environmental activity
A Townsville demolition company was fined $25,000 in the Townsville Magistrates Court yesterday (21 February) after pleading guilty to an environmental offence.
The company had been charged with one count of carrying out an environmentally relevant activity without an environmental authority, contrary to the Environmental Protection Act 1994.
The Court heard that between 30 June 2020 and 22 May 2021, the company received waste at a Townsville site that consisted of construction and demolition waste, namely concrete, bricks and Besser blocks.
The Court heard the company had processed the material on site, including removal of steel reinforcement which was then on-sold.
The company stockpiled the remaining concrete, which it had intended to use as fill to re-profile the land. In total, there were approximately 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes of concrete stockpiled on the site.
The company did not hold an environmental authority (EA).
The Court was told that legislation regulated certain activities that are considered to have an environmental impact, and that operators must hold an EA before carrying them out.
These activities include resource recovery and transfer facility operations, consisting of receiving and sorting, dismantling, or baling waste, as well as receiving and temporarily storing waste before it is moved to another waste facility.
As well as the fine, the company was ordered to pay $1,500 legal costs and $922.38 investigation costs. No conviction was recorded.
In imposing the sentence, the Court acknowledged the company’s guilty plea and its co-operation with the investigation.
In relation to this matter, the company was issued with a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) for $13,345 in August 2021, however it elected to contest the PIN in court, leading to a Court-imposed fine approximately double the PIN amount.
A Department of Environment and Science spokesperson said that, as the environmental regulator, the department took environmental offences seriously and would continue to take strong enforcement action on breaches of the Environmental Protection Act.