No one is seriously suggesting Katherine Town Council is going to have to fork out almost $6 million for the tyre fire.
That would be a manifestly unjust penalty on the ratepayers of Katherine.
Clearly they were not responsible.
The first time most residents knew about the stack of old tyres behind the showgrounds was when they went up in smoke.
Big, black, belching clouds of it.
If we put the impact on the environment to one side for a moment, how about the immediate risk to human health, especially those living in Katherine south, from being exposed to this toxic smoke for days on end?
At the time, most of the fuss seem to be from the hurried switch of Territory Day entertainment from the showgrounds to the sportsgrounds.
We wonder if there has been any sort of investigation into the severity and timeliness of the warnings given to residents on avoiding the smoke?
Several residents still believe evacuations should have been ordered.
There were none.
So back to council's handling of the affair.
Simply, council's actions have exposed this community to a whopping penalty.
Claims this media outlet has been scaremongering or doing anything other than doing its job of bringing it to the public's attention is not worthy of any further response.
Whether the total amount of penalties are applied in this case is really not the issue at the moment, it should never have happened.
That is what the EPA is saying as well.
Clearly some of the aldermen knew about the stacks of tyres, they have said as much at council meetings.
There is a suggestion they may attempt to pass the decision as being the fault of past staff members. That really doesn't wash.
The EPA has to be seen to be doing its job as well, hazardous materials cannot be stored at random, there are reasons for laws, or in this case two separate Acts of Parliament - the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act 1998 and the Environmental Offences and Penalties Act 1996.
The law is clear about polluting.
The penalties are higher for the "body corporate" than individuals.
The EPA could have gone further.
Its list of "show cause" items speaks to the storage of waste in unlicensed areas which may harm the environment.
What about the potential harm to people?
If the council is found to have had placed the tyres there, then it deserves a slap on the wrist.
Probably they would have to count themselves lucky that's all it is.
Again if found guilty, the council would also fully deserve any admonishment its ratepayers may wish to level at it.
The responsibility over duty of care runs deeper than just money.
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