No news not good news for Attwills
By MEL MARTIN
YET more weeks have passed by, and still Peter and Belinda Attwill wait for a report that seems to have disappeared in a bureaucratic black hole.
The couple have been trying to get their Coramba property cleaned up since 2002 when they discovered it is contaminated with benzene, a known carcinogen.
But while the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) put Mr Attwill in charge of an investigation into the pollution, and the report was completed on August 3, the DEC is yet to release it.
The report, according to a DEC spokesman, was still being audited, and would be provided to the Attwills as soon as that process was complete.
For the Attwills, the past four years have been a maze of bureaucracy and frustration, which seems no closer to a resolution, as the as-yet-unavailable report will form the basis for a remediation plan.
"Our property is unsaleable until that process is complete, our principal asset is therefore useless to us," Mr Attwill said in a letter to DEC's director general, which remains unanswered.
Nationals member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser once again raised the issue in parliament recently, and says it is an insult to the Attwills that they have not been given access to the report months after its completion.
"It is deplorable that the Government has let the matter go on for so long, yet claims in a letter sent to all Coramba residents recently by DEC that 'actions were quickly put in place to protect the community'," Mr Fraser said.
In his speech to Parliament, Mr Fraser suggested the money would be better spent buying the property from the Attwills.
"I make a heartfelt plea on behalf of Mr and Mrs Attwill and their three children to enable them to get on with their lives," he said.