Tomago director fined

| March 23, 2019

A director of a company that illegally stored waste, including asbestos, has been convicted and fined $33,750 and ordered to pay $24,500 in legal costs by the NSW Land and Environment Court, following a successful prosecution by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

Geoffrey Barrett Rands pleaded guilty after the EPA found illegally stored waste at Newcastle Waste Recycling Pty Ltd’s Tomago waste facility in the aftermath of a fire in 2014.

At the hearing on 8 March 2019, Justice Pepper found that Mr Rands had committed the offence negligently, and that in her opinion: “by his conduct, Mr Rands was plainly indifferent to the obvious risk of an excess of waste accumulating at the premises having regard to his considerable experience in the waste industry and his obligations as the director of Newcastle Waste Recycling.”

The Court found the storage of about 20,000 cubic metres of construction and demolition waste, brick, concrete, rubble, soil, rubbish, timber and asbestos caused actual harm. The Court also found that a real potential for harm existed.

EPA Acting Executive Director Waste and Resource Recovery – Operations and Programs Carmen Dwyer said the EPA welcomed the Court’s decision to convict and fine Mr Rands and order him to pay the EPA’s legal costs.

“EPA licensing is used to safeguard the community and is a means to mitigate any potential negative environmental impacts of developments and activities,” Ms Dwyer said. “The Court’s decision reflects the seriousness of the offence and the importance of complying with environmental laws and standards.”

A similar charge was also brought against the former site manager of Newcastle Waste Recycling, Mr Edward Gilder. In August 2018, the Court convicted Mr Gilder, fined him $37,500 and ordered him to pay the EPA’s legal costs.