A Western Australian Parliamentary Inquiry found that the Esperance Port Authority and Magellan Metals (and 2 other government agencies) were guilty of "critical failings" in their handling of toxic material in allowing lead carbonate particles to escape during Port operation.
- the ongoing transport to, and inloading practices at, the Esperance Port which occurred almost every second day over some 23 months;
- the escape of lead dust during the usual out loading practices at the Esperance Port, which occurred on 22 occasions; and
- a number of key dust incidents occurring during ship-loading of the Magellan lead concentrate at the Esperance Port, which released significant lead pollution into the environment, and in the absence of any containment or clean up, caused on-going exposures to lead.”
The Esperance Port Authority was fined over half a million dollars after admitting responsibility for the lead poisoning. Magellan Metals escaped without any serious penalty after agreeing to a $9 million settlement to clean up the town. As part of the agreement the State Government agreed not to pursue any criminal or legal charges against the company.
A recent Corruption and Crime Commission Report identified that large government agencies who oversee large contracts with corporations do not have the necessary skills controls and governance systems in place to manage these contractors and identified the risk of corruption.
It is patently clear that regulation and monitoring of corporations is largely ineffective and government agencies and statutory authorities responsible for monitoring them have not proved themselves up to the job