Notes prepared by ACTED on presentation on 26 March 1997


    1. Graham Castledine - Environment

    2. Graham Brook - Consultant's liabilities

of Minter Ellison to CIP


horizontal rule

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Graham Castledine

Contaminated Sites

"a site at which hazardous substances occur at concentrations above background levels and where assessment indicates it poses, or is likely to pose an immediate or long term hazard to human health or the environment."

Common law

Common law remedies not adequate.

bulletProperty rights paramount
bulletRylands V Fletcher
bulletPublic authority

Existing Legislation

bulletEnvironmental Protection Act
bulletEnvironmental impact assessment
bulletClean up/remediation (not retrospective before 1987.
bulletPlanning legislation (zoning is controlled but not remediation.) bulletHazardous materials legislation


bulletLack of co-ordination among Government departments
bulletFocus on prevention, not remediation
bulletIssues unclear, especially re clean-ups
bulletNo requirement for site identification, referral, assessment
bulletNo system of information transfer

Other States and Territories

bulletNew South Wales
bulletEnvironmentally Hazardous chemicals Act 1985
bulletEnvironmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979
bulletRegister of sites
bulletEnvironmental Protection Act 1970
bulletEnvironmental audits
bulletRegister of sites
bulletcontaminated Land Act 1992
bulletRegister of Sites

Proposed WA Legislation

Guiding Principles

bulletPolluter pays
bulletWaste Minimisation

Site Identification

bulletVoluntary referral
bulletPublic authorities
bulletScheduled industries

Site Classification

bulletNot contaminated
bulletInvestigation required
bulletRemediation required
bulletAcceptable risk - restricted use
bulletAcceptable risk - unrestricted use

Certification of Environmental Audit

Required before:

bulletland classified as contaminated' or investigation required' is rezoned or redeveloped,
bulletland is reclassified from either 'contaminated' or 'investigation required'.

Other Issues

bulletInformation transfer
bulletMemorial on title
bulletPolluter pays

Site identification process. Voluntary, referral, scheduled list of potentially polluting activities

Retrospective provisions with potential for transfer of liability so that new owner can be held liable

bulletPurchaser with notice

Certificate of environmental audit (before occupancy)

bulletOwner/occupier bulletOrphan sites bulletLenders

Practical Steps

Now before legislation is introduced.

Carry out environmental assessment

Trace history of land.

Prepare notice of risk to neighbours and purchasors

bulletWork practices reform
bulletBuyer beware
bulletLender beware

Graham Brook

Consultants should be careful not to act on deficient information and liable under inadequate due dilligence. Disclaimers and exclusion clauses are not appropriate.

Section 52 of Trade Practices Act applies to conduct that is misleading or deceptive. Damages may be applied and contracting out may not be possible.

The consultant should decide whether to accept the responsibility of an inadequate brief and discuss with the principal the implications.


Chemlink Pty Ltd ABN 71 007 034 022. Publications 1997. All contents Copyright © 1997. All rights reserved. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Products and companies referred to are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders. URL:

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