Department documents prove ministerial cover up

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Emails from the Office of Environment and Heritage prove Environment Minister Robyn Parker knew the airborne Orica hexavalent chromium leak was „dangerous if inhaled‟ 24 hours before she informed Stockton residents.

Instead of warning Stockton residents about the airborne chemical being dangerous, Minister Parker phoned her Liberal Party colleague, the Member for Newcastle Tim Owen – who also sat on information that his own constituents that they were at risk.

Minister Parker was informed the leak was dangerous at 4.23pm on Wednesday. She did not go public with the safety threat until 3.27pm on Thursday, 11 August - after Question Time on the last day of Parliament for the fortnight.

“Departmental emails prove the Environment Minister knew of the safety threat to Stockton residents and chose not to act for 24 hours,” Opposition Leader, John Robertson said.

“Robyn Parker knew Stockton families and children were outside, potentially breathing in a dangerous toxic chemical and did nothing.

“Instead of telling Stockton residents they should not be allowing their children to play outside, the Minister played politics and called the Liberal Member for Newcastle, Tim Owen to let him know.

“Stockton residents had to wait 54 hours to find out they were in danger because of the Minister‟s cover up.

“The Premier must stand Robyn Parker down pending the outcome of the independent inquiry into this shocking incident.”

“The Minister has put politics above public safety and must be stood down,” Shadow Environment Minister, Luke Foley said.

“The Member for Newcastle has also grossly failed in his duty of care – Tim Owen knew his own constituents were breathing in a toxic chemical and chose to do nothing.”