Toxic Truth: Lead pollution group to work with community

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THE newly established eight-member North Lake Macquarie Community Lead Reference group has been asked to meet as soon as possible.

The group’s membership – Karen McCraw (school representative), Nicole Gerrard, Emma Hale, Anne Sullivan, Tony Cade, Lloyd Hill (business representative), Wendy Harrison  (Council representative), and Rob Denton (Council representative) – was announced this week.

The group, to be chaired by Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper, will be a conduit between the community and the lead expert working group that was formed in December. 

“Both of these groups will play an equally important role in reviewing previous work undertaken in relation to the contamination of soil with lead and lead slag from the former Pasminco lead smelter and in developing proposals to address any issues raised as a result of the review,’’ EPA chief executive Barry Buffier said.

Mr Buffier said he had asked the group to meet as soon as possible.

Mr Piper said he looked forward to working with the group and providing input into any future actions or recommendations made about lead contamination in the region.

“I am pleased to have this opportunity to work with the community, environment minister, government agencies and experts to address lingering concerns about the lead legacy once and for all.”

But not everyone is impressed by the group.

Boolaroo Action Group member Jim Sullivan said he pessimistic about what the group could achieve. ‘‘They are all good people and I welcome their assistance,’’ Mr Sullivan has been a vocal campaigner on the issue of lead contamination, said. 

‘‘At the end of the day the EPA need a community reference group to sort out this problem; it simply needs the political to fix it.’’

Mr Sullivan said a similar group was formed in the early 1990s, however, it was disbanded several years later. 

‘‘My view is the reference group is a stalling tactic. I doubt it will achieve anything,’’ Mr Sullivan said.