NSW EPA doubles up on waste transporter cases

Fake weighbridge dockets prosecution follows prison for asbestos dumper

NSW EPA doubles up on waste transporter cases
NSW EPA has had a second court victory in short order


The New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has chalked up a second successful waste-transporter court prosecution in a week following the high-profile case of serial asbestos dumper Dib Hanna.

Six days after Hanna was jailed in what was a first for the Land and Environment Court under new laws he helped trigger in an earlier case,

Mathew Laison, formerly sole operator of Laison Earthmoving & Plant Hire, was fined $85,000 including costs for providing false information about waste disposal.

The 2012 incident saw two fake weighbridge dockets provided to a second waste transporter.

In welcoming the court’s decision, EPA waste compliance director Greg Sheehy insists that "being evasive about waste will not get you off the hook".

"Providing false records about the disposal of waste significantly undermines the NSW environmental regulatory system," Sheehy says.

"It is a crime and this penalty provides a warning to others that they will not get away with breaking the law."

"The EPA has a strong record for catching waste offenders, we encourage people to report waste crimes to the EPA, call our Environment Line 131 555."

But Laison’s case pales against that of Hanna, which earned him a three year jail and a public rebuke from NSW environment minister Gabrielle Upton.

"It is an appropriate sentence for Mr Hanna, who took advantage of innocent people for his own financial benefit," Upton said at the time.

"Illegal dumping, especially of asbestos waste, is a serious environmental crime and NSW has tough laws to prevent it.

"Today’s result will serve as an important warning to those thinking of breaking the law.

"Any behaviour that flagrantly puts the health of the community and the environment at risk will not be tolerated.

"Landowners should always be extremely cautious when accepting topsoil and be on the lookout for dodgy operators.

"The simple message is: check that the soil you’re receiving is clean and comes from a reputable supplier."

Hanna, who has a non-parole period of two years and three months pleaded guilty to one charge of illegal transport of waste and four counts of illegal dumping of waste.

NSW EPA says that in an exhaustive pursuit, it worked with the Police to have Hanna arrested in Victoria and extradited to NSW after he failed to appear in court to answer the charges.

"This is the first time a person has been extradited in relation to environmental offences," it adds.

"The Court heard that Mr Hanna had advertised free clean top soil, clay, crushed bitumen and shale and the use of an excavation machine to various Sydney residents via a letterbox drop.

"Upon being contacted by innocent residents interested in receiving the free material, between October 2015 and January 2016, he instructed truck drivers to transport and deposit 461 square metres or 461,000kg of waste, including asbestos waste, at residential properties in East Kurrajong, Llandilo and Wallacia."


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