Orica plant spills arsenic into Hunter River

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The NSW Opposition has today renewed its calls for the Premier to stand Environment Minister, Robyn Parker down and appoint an acting Environment Minister who can tackle the second Orica chemical leak in two weeks for the residents of Newcastle.

“The Premier must immediately stand Environment Minister, Robyn Parker down and appoint an acting Environment Minister to deal with this second Orica chemical leak,” Opposition Leader John Robertson said.

“First hexavalent chromium was leaked into Stockton, now arsenic has spilled into the Hunter River – Orica has a lot of explaining to do.

“The people of the Hunter need an Environment Minister who will be fearless in taking on Orica and this public safety issue – not Robyn Parker who has already failed them abysmally.

“Departmental emails prove the Environment Minister knew of the original safety threat to Stockton residents and personally chose not to act for at least 24 hours.

“The people of Stockton and the Hunter have a lame duck Environment Minister who has not been seen or heard from since last Saturday.

“This isn’t good enough – we need an Environment Minister who will stand up for the safety of the people of Stockton and now the wider Hunter region.”

Shadow Minister for the Environment, Luke Foley said the Premier must stand Robyn Parker aside and appoint a new Environment Minister in the interim while the independent inquiry takes place.

“The Premier’s current inquiry is an attempt to cover up the Government’s shocking mismanagement of the first Orica leak which saw the Government sit on safety information for 54 hours,” Mr Foley said.

“The NSW Opposition demands the inquiry be modelled on the 1973 Inquiry Into Pollution from Kooragang Island and include extensive public hearings and evidence from both Stockton residents and experts.”