Western Australia’s largest cement producer could escape with just a A$10,000 fine if it is prosecuted for exceeding its water limit by 2.8 billion litres. The Department of Environment has confirmed Cockburn Cement breached the conditions of its license by drawing excess water from the Yaragadee Aquifer in the state’s south-west over the past two years. The company was investigated in 2003 for a similar offence but escaped without penalty.
Department spokesman Declan Morgan says a lot has changed since then and the latest incident is being thoroughly investigated. "There’s been a very strong track record over the last couple of years with the advent of the environmental enforcement unit and I can say that this matter is under investigation currently," he said. "That is a significant turnaround from I suppose a few years ago when the department was acknowledged as an agency that didn’t really enforce matters