State Labor calls for management plan to improve air quality in Lower Hunter

In Parliament | 27.04.16

NSW Labor is calling on the Baird Government to come up with a plan of management to address air quality issues in the Lower Hunter following the release of EPA’s Lower Hunter Particle Characterisation Study. 

The study found that fine airborne particles (PM 2.5) were 40 per cent higher at Stockton compared to surrounding suburbs. 

This result was in part due to emissions from Orica’s ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility on nearby Kooragang Island. The study found ammonium nitrate accounts for 19 per cent of emissions in Stockton. 

More broadly emissions from human activities – including industrial and vehicle emissions, shipping and agriculture – account for between 45 to 54 per cent of fine airborne particles in the area. 

Several international studies have shown a link between exposure to fine airborne particles and poor health outcomes including an increased incidence of respiratory and cardiovascular disease. 

These findings follow on from a number of events where levels of fine airborne particles exceeded national air quality standards in 2015. 

The report’s findings are a concern given the Government’s plan for future population growth in the Hunter. 

The NSW Government has failed to adopt the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) standards for air quality. The standards have been adopted in both Victoria and the ACT. 

 Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe: 

“There needs to be an action plan in place to address air quality in the Hunter. 

“The people of the Hunter deserve better. The Minister needs to take air quality issues seriously and respond to this report with a plan of action and not just words. 

“The Baird Government should adopt world’s best air quality standards to ensure that the people of the Hunter can breathe easy.”