Court issues $21k in fines and costs for asbestos waste offence in Chatswood

Downing Centre Local Court has convicted and fined Mr Milad Issa $5,500 for illegally disposing of asbestos waste in a Chatswood residential apartment complex, following prosecution by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). Mr Issa was also ordered to pay almost $16,000 in legal and investigation fees to the EPA and for the lawful removal of the asbestos waste material.

The asbestos waste was offloaded at a residential apartment on Cambridge Lane, Chatswood, a site that could not legally receive the waste.

The court heard that three garbage bags of corrugated fibrous cement sheeting containing asbestos, and one loose fragment of corrugated fibrous cement sheeting containing asbestos, were dumped at the site by Mr Issa.

Magistrate Abdul-Karim found the defendant had made “a deliberate decision to dump 100kg of asbestos”, and commented “offences of this type are easy to commit and hard to detect, and they have the potential to cause significant harm to the environment and to the community”.                                                                                                               

EPA Director Waste Compliance Greg Sheehy said the EPA would continue to prosecute and fine those who flout the law and dump asbestos waste.

“In this case, Mr Issa failed to dispose of the asbestos waste legally and he has been convicted and fined accordingly.”

Mr Issa pleaded guilty to one charge against him by the EPA under clause 80(1) of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014. The maximum fine that could have been imposed against Mr Issa was $22,000.

Last year, the maximum penalties for asbestos waste offences were significantly increased such that if a similar offence occurred today, the maximum fine available is $500,000 for individuals or $2 million for corporations.

The EPA investigates all reports of inappropriate transport or disposal of asbestos and reports can be made to the 24-hour EPA Environment Line on 131 555.

Penalty notices are one of several tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices, directions and prosecutions. For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm