Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Newcastle residents stand up to One Steel

Reading Time: < 1 minutes

The Mayfield East Residents Group (MERG) has been active in opposing a Development Application (DA) from One Steel, a local steel producer, to have a new plastification plant opened in a residential area of Newcastle.

The new plant, which plans to coat steel wire in plastic is just metres away from the residential area, and will release the deadly poison benzene as part of the process. One Steel initially planned to release benzene into the local environment, via a smoke stack. Mayfield is a working class suburb recovering from the pollution of the BHP Steel works that closed in 1999, and the last thing it needed was a new pollution threat. Coal dust from the local Port Waratah Coal Loader still remains a major concern.

After a groundswell of community opposition One Steel have now stated that they will introduce a filter system to remove the benzene as it is produced, but as yet have not produced any details on how this will be implemented. MERG will continue to campaign to ensure that all the communities safety concerns are met. This includes the health and safety aspects for the One Steel workers as well as concerns about the storage of the plastic, independent monitoring of benzene and other possible toxic emissions as well as the safe disposal of any used benzene laden filters.

By Simon Raine, Socialist Party Newcastle


The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare many of the problems with capitalism. The Socialist strives to explain the systemic causes of this crisis, and reports about the issues that are important to working people. We also help to organise struggles against the powers that be.

We don’t receive a cent from big business or governments. Our work is fully funded by our supporters. Even if half the people who read our website every month donated a few dollars each we would raise thousands to help our work!

We need organisations of struggle now more than ever, so if you support what we do please consider making a donation.

One-off or regular donations can be made securely HERE.