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Fremantle Port Authority Warned Over Lead Liability

Fremantle MLA Adele Carles says that the fining of the Esperance Port Authority on Friday stands as a clear warning to the Fremantle Port Authority that it will be in the firing line if there is any contamination in Fremantle caused by Magellan’s lead carbonate.

The Esperance Port Authority last week was fined $525,000 after pleading guilty to five charges of lead contamination which occurred nearly three years ago in Esperance, about 740km south of Perth. “This is cold comfort for Esperance residents- they have been left with the legacy of lead contamination and now they are effectively paying for it, as taxpayers who fund the Port. In Europe of America, the company causing the damage would be charged with criminal negligence and would face the compensation bill – why has Magellan escaped criminal prosecution?” asks Ms Carles.

Ms Carles said the Fremantle Port Authority will be in the hot seat if there is any future contamination in Fremantle.

“Unlike the Esperance Port Authority which had no prior knowledge of Magellan, the Fremantle Port Authority knows exactly who it is dealing with here – it knows what Magellan did in Esperance and it begs the question of why it would do business with Magellan. With this latest development, the Fremantle Port Authority should prepare itself to be the one sued by the state government if there is a problem,” says Ms Carles.

Ms Carles said the Magistrate in Esperance, in handing down the penalty last week, talked about the damage that has been done to the town’s image, the effect on tourism, and the impact on the local environment and the local economy.

“Importantly, he also said the incidents have left the community with a mistrust of the Esperance Port Authority. The Fremantle Port Authority should be very mindful of the position it is leaving itself in with lead carbonate now being shipped through Fremantle by the very same company – what is in this for Fremantle residents except risk?” she said.

The shipment of lead carbonate through Fremantle began two months ago, and Magellan Metals expects 3,000 tonnes a week to go through the Fremantle Port by the end of the year.

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