Homes affected by Stockton chemical leak jumps by five times

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The Environment Minister, Robyn Parker's abysmal handling of the Orica chemical leak has taken another turn for the worst – with confirmation the toxic leak has affected 30 blocks of homes in Stockton.

This is five times the number of homes the Minister said were originally affected by the leak.

NSW Opposition Leader, John Robertson and Shadow Environment Minister, Luke Foley are in Stockton to meet with local residents concerned about the handling of the Orica chemical leak.

"It was today revealed the Environment Minister's original claim that six blocks of homes were affected by this toxic leak was a gross underestimation," Mr Robertson said.

"There are now 30 blocks of homes in Stockton affected by this leak – and the Environment Minister's department has waited one week to inform these residents of the safety risk.

"This is a cause of great concern for local residents – why were some residents told that they had to stop children from playing outdoors and others were not?

"Not only did the Minister allow residents to wait 54 hours before informing them their health may be at risk – now more residents who previously thought they were safe are now at risk.

"The Minister must reveal whether this information was deliberately withheld to play down this public safety threat – or if it was pure incompetence on her behalf."

Shadow Minister Luke Foley said the Minister's claims that there was no threat to safety in the outer zone were dangerous and incorrect.

"Reports out today suggest three of the highest positive readings for hexavalent chromium were in the outer zone area – so these residents have every right to be concerned," he said.

"If three of the highest readings where in the outer zone, why weren’t these residents warned not to allow their children to play outside or eat home grown vegetables?"

After announcing an independent inquiry would take place, the O'Farrell Government has not announced who will consider the inquiry, when it will take place or what terms of reference it will include.

The Government has also refused to comment on whether the inquiry will include public hearings for the people of Stockton.