Fraser help for Attwills

By LEE McDOUGALL

PETER and Belinda Attwill could never be described as 'whingers' yet it is perhaps because of this that their home continues to be a designated contaminated site.

On March 15, the Coffs Coast Advocate raised the plight of this Coramba couple and their family, living on a site contaminated by benzene.

Benzene is a known carcinogen. The Federal Government states that long-term exposure to benzene at various levels can affect normal blood production and can be harmful to the immune system.

It can cause leukaemia and has also been linked with birth defects in animals and humans.

In January, 2002, Mr Attwill notified the Coffs Harbour City Council and Environment Protection Authority after discovering a strong smell of petrol on his land.

While the EPA declared the property a remediation site in October, 2003, and NSW Environment Minister Bob Debus wrote to the Attwills in October, 2004, stating that remediation work could now proceed, 18 months later little has been done to actual remediate the site.

Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser will this week raise the matter in parliament and hopes to apply enough pressure on Mr Debus and the Department of Environment and Conservation (former EPA) to expediate remediation.

"It's an absolute disgrace that nothing has been done," Mr Fraser said.

"This is an innocent party who now has a property that can't be sold and is effectively worthless. The Attwills haven't been complainers, in fact they have been overly patient, and because of this they have been ignored."

Mr Fraser said he will request that the State Government buy the Attwill property at an unaffected price to enable the young family to 'get on with their lives'.

"The geotechnical drawings indicate that the contamination is far more reaching than the Attwill's land," Mr Fraser said.

"I met with Debus in September, 2004, but it's gone nowhere."



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