By Ben Swain
Prosecution by the Environment Protection Authority leads to company and its director being fined, ordered to pay costs & publish notice in Quarry Magazine, Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Telegraph, Coffs Coast News of the Area and Northern Rivers Times.
In Environment Protection Authority v Crush and Haul Pty Ltd; Environment Protection Authority v Cauchi  NSWLEC 113 (Crush and Haul case), the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales has convicted Crush and Haul Pty Ltd (Crush and Haul) for an offence of failing to comply with licensing requirements for scheduled activities under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act (NSW). Its sole Director was also convicted being the person involved in the management of Crush and Haul and was in a position to influence the conduct of the company to prevent or stop it committing the offence.
Through 2018, Crush and Haul operated Corindi Quarry, at Corindi Beach north of Coffs Harbour. Crush and Haul extracted, processed and stored at the quarry extractive materials, specifically rock and clay, for sale. Under s 48 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act (NSW), an occupier of premises at which a scheduled activity is carried on is required to hold an environment protection licence authorising that activity to be carried on at the premises. Clause 19 of Schedule 1 to the Act indicates that a licence is required for land-based extractive activity if the activity meets the criteria in Column 2 of the Table to the clause. “Land-based extractive activity” is defined in cl 19(1) to mean “the extraction, processing or storage of extractive materials, either for sale or re-use, by means of excavation, blasting, tunnelling or quarrying or other such land-based methods”. The criteria for this activity in Column 2 of the Table to the clause is that the activity “involves the extraction, processing or storage of more than 30,000 tonnes per year of extractive materials.”
Crush and Haul extracted, processed or stored more than 30,000 tonnes of extractive materials per year in 2018 and from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018, Crush and Haul sold 92,966.28 tonnes of extractive materials from Corindi Quarry. Accordingly, the company was required to hold an environment protection licence to carry on the scheduled activity of land-based extractive activity at the premises. By not holding such a licence at the time that the activity was carried on it committed an offence against s 48(2) of the Act.
In sentencing, Preston CJ convicted and fined the company and its director $225,000 and $22,500 respectively; and ordered that the company and its director pay the Environment Protection Authority’s costs, and publish a notice in the Quarry Magazine, Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Telegraph, Coffs Coast News of the Area and Northern Rivers Times of the conviction of the offence.
The recent decision in the Crush and Haul case is a timely reminder for persons (including companies) not to carry on a scheduled activity under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act (NSW) or environmentally relevant activity under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (QLD) without an environment protection licence in NSW or environmental authority in QLD that may be required to authorise the carrying on of that activity, and for directors or managers of corporations to ensure that they take reasonable steps to prevent or stop the commission of offences by the corporation.
A full copy of the judgment can be found here: