Public ‘betrayed’ over Cockburn Cement

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The WA opposition says Cockburn residents have been “betrayed” by the government’s failure to make public the legal appeal by Cockburn Cement against conditions that would have forced it to install pollution control measures.

Earlier this month Cockburn Cement successfully overturned an imposed licence amendment on the world’s biggest lime plant by Environment Minister Bill Marmion.

The amendment would have required the company to put a ‘bag house’ filter on one of its kilns.

Cockburn MP Fran Logan said local residents felt “very betrayed” by Marmion for failing to publicly disclose the company’s appeal.

“In May, your amendments made to the Cockburn Cement operating licence were roundly approved and supported by the residents of Cockburn, it was supported by the City of Cockburn and I congratulated you on many occasions,” Logan told Marmion.

“Why the residents and myself now feel very betrayed by this, about what’s occurred, is because of the way in which what has occurred was handled.

“There’s been an appeal to the Supreme Court by Cockburn Cement; it’s been done in a very underhanded, secretive way because the company didn’t tell anybody about the appeal.”

Logan said a week before the appeal was formalised residents who were unaware of the action were led to believe the installation on the facility’s kiln was going ahead.

He said it was “spineless and gutless” of Marmion not to inform residents of the change and have them find out from a Government press release earlier this month.

But Marmion told Logan he understood the concerns of residents living near the lime plant.

“That’s why, when I amended the licence earlier this year, I put the toughest conditions ever made on Cockburn Cement,” he said.

“Unfortunately, as you mentioned, whilst there were a lot of tough conditions, the one that residents and the City of Cockburn were looking the most forward to was the bag house filter on Kiln five and it became clear Cockburn Cement were not that happy with that condition and they unfortunately chose to take it to the Supreme Court.”

Marmion said Cockburn Cement’s licence was up for renewal in March and he would not rule out introducing tougher restrictions on the new licence again.

Image: PerthNow — Theo Fakos

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