On 20 October 1993 the Criminal Justice Commission commenced a public hearing pursuant to section 2.17 (as it then was) of the Criminal Justice Act 1989 into the improper disposal of liquid waste in South-East Queensland.
The investigation which led to the hearings arose from a complaint received by the Commission alleging the systemic, improper disposal of liquid wastes - comprising grease trap waste, hazardous and oily wastes in the Brisbane and Logan areas - by a particular commercial waste removal company.
The complaint alleged that company employees had been threatened against failing to continue to take part in the scheme and also that public officials passed information to certain employees to assist them in avoiding detection when improperly disposing of liquid wastes.
80 witnesses gave evidence from 6 November 1993, and a further 19 statutory declarations were produced to the Commission. The Commission sat for a total of 40 days spread over seven months terminating on 15 April 1994.
- three search warrants authorised by the Supreme Court were issued
- 59 summonses
- 246 notices to furnish information
- 12 notices to produce and
- information was voluntarily supplied by another 182 councils, transporters and generators of waste.
The hearings were in relation to an investigation which has particular reference to, but is not limited to, the following matters:-
- the alleged improper disposal of liquid waste in South East Queensland in ways which may constitute a breach of section 230 of the Criminal Code (Common Nuisance) or breaches of Queensland legislation, such as Clean Waters Act, the Health Act, and Regulations or other legislation enacted to protect the welfare of persons and the environment
- an alleged conspiracy to defraud the public contrary to section 430 of the Criminal Code, or the systematic obtaining of money contrary to 427 by the false pretence that liquid waste in South East Queensland would be disposed of in an authorised manner
- possible corruption of officers of the Queensland Public Service and Local Authorities to facilitate the unauthorised disposal of liquid waste in South East Queensland
- possible official misconduct by holders of offices in units of public administration in connection with the unauthorised disposal of liquid waste.