Piper slams Origin Energy in Parliament over Myuna Bay closure

8th May 2019

Mr Piper used his first private member's statement for the new term of parliament on Tuesday to unleash on the company and the NSW Office of Sport, which closed the Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre in April on the back of Origin's advice about the ash dam risks.

The Independent MP said Origin had "persuaded and encouraged" former Office of Sport CEO Matt Miller to shut down the centre.

He said the now retired CEO's decision had been a "gross over-reaction" given Origin's engineering report had not been peer-reviewed by any government agency.

"The basis for the decision was that the wall might be compromised if a large earthquake was recorded within a 100km radius of Myuna Bay which, I might add, is nowhere near any known fault line."

Mr Piper was critical of Origin for not raising its concerns before or during the process of seeking planning approval to extend the ash dam last year.

The company's plan to augment the dam to gain an additional five million cubic metres of storage capacity was placed on exhibition by the Department of Planning last September.

"We now know that while Origin was wanting to increase the size of its ash dam, it was in possession of its own initial risk reports which were indicating that the existing dam could have catastrophic impacts on the community and the environment if there was a major earthquake," he said.

"In other words, while Origin was behind closed doors asking the Office of Sport to close down Myuna Bay because a one-in-5000-year earthquake might break their ash dam wall, they were contemporaneously applying to increase the volume of the very same ash dam."

Mr Piper had earlier tabled a petition with more than 18,000 signatures arguing for the centre to be reopened. He said in his speech the community had been outraged by the closure.

"They are livid, and so am I," he said. "To their credit, the Premier and her new Minister for Sport have been quick to start an independent review of the Origin Energy report and the decision taken by the Office of Sport.

"Were hopeful that it applies some common sense to this entire fiasco."

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