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Leaks 'unacceptable'

The state government will examine whether "systemic failure" led to a second Orica chemical leak at Newcastle, as ministers defended their handling of the affair.

The state government will examine whether "systemic failure" led to a second Orica chemical leak at Newcastle, as ministers defended their handling of the affair.

Yesterday the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, renewed his support for the Environment Minister, Robyn Parker, after the opposition accused her of being "missing in action" throughout the crisis.

He said government officials would meet Orica's management "immediately".

"Two incidents in a fortnight suggest systemic failure ... It's unacceptable. I've had a gutful of families being distressed by potential threats to their safety and by threats to their local environment."

Orica confirmed on Friday the discharge of 1.2 megalitres of effluent, containing arsenic, into the Hunter River at Newcastle.

It came after toxic hexavalent chromium leaked from the same manufacturing plant at Kooragang Island on August 8.


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