Mr Ali Roude, Chairman of the Islamic Council of New South Wales, stands for this portrait in his office at Rissalah College, in Lakemba, where he is Principal. Friday 26 August 2005 SMH News Photograph by JON REID/JHR Story by Linda Morris SPECIAL 40822A short drive south from Badgerys Creek in western Sydney, a five-hectare site once housed the ambitions of a growing private Sydney school.
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Rissalah College paid $2.4 million for two adjoining blocks in the suburb of Rossmore, for what it hoped would become a future high school campus.

But the land has become a dumping ground for illegal waste, including asbestos, that the Lakemba school has failed to clean up.

The property, an important asset in Rissalah’s large portfolio, has fallen under the scrutiny of the Environment Protection Authority at the same time as the school faces a multimillion-dollar funding shortfall.

Rissalah last month agreed to pay back $4.3 million to the state government after it was found to have illicitly operated for profit between 2007 and 2013. The largely taxpayer-funded school, which now operates as a primary school but had looked to expand classes up to year 12, has been referred for further investigation by the n Taxation Office and the national not-for-profits watchdog.

Officers from the EPA are investigating at Rossmore after complaints of illegal dumping led them to waste piles, including asbestos, last June.

This was “likely to cause degradation of the land resulting in potential human and environmental health risks,” a December clean-up notice read.

“Uncontrolled asbestos waste has the potential to cause air pollution.”

As the land owner, Rissalah was ordered to pay an administration fee and clean up the site. But it failed to pay, resulting in a $1000 fine, and the clean-up is not finished, an EPA spokeswoman said.

A Fairfax Media investigation this year exposed long delays in the removal of illegal asbestos dumps, including one that has sat in Sydney for 16 years.

The unknown perpetrators of the Rossmore dumping face a maximum two years’ imprisonment.

A neighbouring site, which Rissalah College bought for $1.1 million in 2009, is also under investigation after inspectors found illegal waste on the premises.

A neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said authorities had not told her of the asbestos dumped on number 487. But she said she had complained for years about petrol smells and noise from what appeared to be some kind of auto yard on number 479.

“You don’t want to be a bad neighbour but you’ve got to protect yourself,” the neighbour said.

She recalled cars delivering waste to the backyard, which she then viewed on online satellite maps. A Camden Council spokesperson said car bodies and parts had been cleared from the premises.

The Rossmore properties were purchased during the tenure of Ali Roude, a Rissalah principal who was sued by the school in 2013.

On Monday, Fairfax Media revealed Mr Roude, an Order of medallist, and members of his family had been banned from being employed, contracted or paid by the 430-student school he helped found in 1997.

Along with his wife Susan, sister Nada and niece Roukaya Dannoun, Mr Roude was accused of benefiting from unauthorised transactions from the school.

The Roudes and Ms Dannoun strongly denied the allegations and settled with the school in 2015, without admitting fault, agreeing to pay $300,0000.

It was Mr Roude’s nephew, Ms Dannoun’s brother Bilal, who won a contract to demolish a chicken shed on 479 Bringelly Road for $100,000 in 2011.

Mr Dannoun was one of four contractors who quoted for the job, and the only one not to cost asbestos removal.

When contacted by Fairfax Media, Mr Roude said there was no asbestos in the metal shed.

A progress report from Mr Dannoun six months after work began on the site revealed he discovered “illegally dumped asbestos piles adjoining the shed”.

Mr Dannoun said a demolition contractor, whose name he could not recall, had removed the asbestos. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},”#pez_iframe_tipstar_546″);

Rissalah principal Naslie Styer did not respond to questions. iFrameResize({resizedCallback : function(messageData){}},”#pez_iframe_tipstar_546″);


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