The bulk haulage company Alcobell Pty Ltd (Alcobell) and
its director, Mr Campbell, were fined a total of $87,000 by Justice
Pain of the NSW Land and Environment Court over waste transport and
dumping offences and for providing false or misleading information
to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
The Defendants pleaded guilty to a total of six illegal waste
transport and dumping offences under ss 143-144 of the
Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW)
(PEO Act). However the Court rejected the
Prosecutor's argument that the Defendants deliberately
transported waste containing asbestos to three properties used as
illegal waste facilities. Rather the Defendants had failed to
properly understand that the waste did not meet any waste
exemptions granted under cll 51–51A of the Protection of
the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2005 (NSW)
Mr Campbell also pleaded guilty to the s 211(2) PEO Act offence
of knowingly providing false or misleading information in waste
load worksheets provided to EPA investigators. The Court convicted
and fined Mr Campbell although the Court accepted that Mr Campbell
did not deliberately intend to mislead or conceal facts about
In addition to $87,000 in fines the Court ordered the Defendants
to pay the EPA's investigation costs ($23,409) and legal costs
During 2010–2012 Alcobell transported about 6,500 tonnes
of waste containing asbestos, which came from skip operators. The
waste was deposited on three rural properties at Lithgow, one of
which was owned by Mr Campbell, other than in accordance with waste
exemptions and without the necessary environment protection
licences, or development consent for 2 of the properties. Alcobell
earned about $150,000 from skip operators and avoided paying almost
$500,000 in waste levies. Alcobell ceased operating in 2013.
Mr Campbell and the other 2 property owners intended that the
waste would be used on each of the 3 properties for roads or
earthworks. Mr Campbell believed that a waste exemption under the
Waste Regulation covered the work he was doing.
During the subsequent EPA investigation Mr Campbell provided the
EPA with a set of Alcobell's internal running worksheets of
daily waste loads, telling investigators that this was a true,
accurate and complete record. The EPA later executed a search
warrant and seized worksheets that differed from the set Mr
FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND WASTE EXEMPTIONS DID NOT APPLY
The Court held that the EPA had not proved that Mr Campbell
intended to use his own land as a waste facility. Mr Campbell had
applied for and obtained development consent for the work on his
land and the waste deposited by Alcobell was used to make roads.
The Court accepted that the Defendants and the owners of the other
two properties always intended that the waste would be used on the
three properties for roads or earthworks. This was not a case where
the waste was deliberately taken to the properties with the
intention of avoiding lawful disposal. The Defendants' conduct
should be understood as failing properly to understand that the
waste did not meet any relevant waste exemption, and that
consequently the waste could not lawfully be disposed of on any of
the three properties (at ). While the Court found that Mr
Campbell's conduct was not reckless or deliberate, his actions
were negligent for a person involved in the transport of waste who
was required to be familiar with the waste regulatory regime (at
NO DELIBERATE INTENT TO MISLEAD OR CONCEAL FACTS ABOUT
The Court accepted that the worksheets Mr Campbell provided to
EPA investigators were merely an internal running record of work
completed by Alcobell. The worksheets had not been prepared for a
third party with the intention of falsifying Alcobell's
activities. There was no deliberate intention to mislead or conceal
facts by Mr Campbell (at –).
The Court convicted and fined the Defendants a total of $87,000.
The Court also ordered the Defendants pay the EPA's
investigation costs ($23,409) and legal costs (over $210,000) (at
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