International contaminate site remediation conference

Mr DULUK (Waite) (14:58): My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Water. Can the minister please update the house on the management and remediation of contaminated sites in South Australia?

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS (Black—Minister for Environment and Water) (14:58): I want to particularly thank the member for Waite for the question—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: —and in particular for representing me at the 8th International Contaminated Site Remediation Conference in Adelaide on Sunday night. I understand that he gave a rousing speech to the hundreds of delegates from all over the world—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: —who came to the 8th International—

Mr Teague interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Heysen is called to order.

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS: —Contaminated Site Remediation Conference. Interestingly, the first such conference was held in Adelaide as well, and of course South Australia has a substantial history in undertaking complex site remediation as a result of our industrial and manufacturing heritage in this state.

This conference was an opportunity for some 600 or so delegates from Asia, Africa, Europe and North America to come together. It included our own Chief Executive of the EPA, Tony Circelli, who was one of the plenary speakers. The Malaysian Minister of Housing and Local Government, Zuraida Kamaruddin, also attended and was very keen to learn about the site contamination leadership that South Australia has provided over recent years.

In terms of that leadership, one thing the EPA has a particular focus on is dealing with orphan sites. These are sites for which the owner cannot be found anymore or is financially unable to undertake its responsibilities with regard to site remediation. The EPA and the public servants who are part of that organisation have a very important role in coming in and taking care, control and stewardship of those sites. They work through often complex community engagement processes and costly decontamination processes as they work towards the remediation of those sites, making them safe and in some cases aspiring to see other forms of development undertaken on them.

This is something that the government is very interested in being able to do more efficiently and cost-effectively, bearing in mind that safety and community wellbeing are maintained. We know that these contaminated sites are often in strategically advantageous places when it comes to uplifting value for the communities in which they are found. They can be on strategic road and rail corridors. They can often be close to the city centre. That gives them substantial potential value but, unless they are appropriately decontaminated and made a central part of the surrounding community, woven into the surrounding community, that value cannot be attained.

It was very interesting to look at the list of speakers who came to Adelaide. I know from speaking to EPA officials that there was an opportunity for shared learnings between different jurisdictions from all around the world. Of course, they were also able to look at Adelaide, which, despite having these sites, has developed a clean, green reputation. That is a reputation this government wants to continue to enhance through the creation of our governance body, Green Adelaide, which we hope to set up following the passage of legislation later this year. It was a great conference. I hope that the many people who attended it have been able to take their learnings all across the world, and I once again thank the member for Waite for representing me there.

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