House debates

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Statements by Members


1:30 pm

Photo of Matt ThistlethwaiteMatt Thistlethwaite (Kingsford Smith, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Financial Services) Share this | | Hansard source

In 2020, raw sewage should not be pumped into one of Sydney's major waterways, but that's exactly what's occurring at Botany Bay during heavy rain. Sydney Water has been regularly discharging hundreds of millions of litres of sewage into the Sydney Airport Wetlands which then flows into Botany Bay, via Mill Stream. The discharges usually occur during heavy rain and can see the equivalent of hundreds of Olympic-sized swimming pools of sewage sent into the wetlands. It literally stinks. Sydney Water has sought, and been granted, a renewal of this authorisation by the federal department of infrastructure and transport—but unconditional, because any discharges in wet weather are likely to exceed the acceptable limits for water pollution and result in objectionable odours. The impact is prohibited under the airport's regulations—not to mention the health risk and inconvenience that it causes to local residents and people who swim, fish and walk along the Foreshore Beach.

On behalf of the community, I strongly object to Sydney Water being granted approval to discharge sewage into Mill Stream and Botany Bay. It's time for the Deputy Prime Minister and the minister for infrastructure and transport to get Sydney Water to finally commit to improving their infrastructure, so there is no longer a need to pump raw sewage into one of Sydney's major waterways. The approval should not be unconditional. The approval should be on the basis that Sydney Water commit to upgrading their infrastructure and stop pumping raw sewage into Botany Bay.