60 Minutes August 25

This week 60 Minutes looks at humpback whales dangerous chemicles and the incredible story of Turia Pitt

Turia Pitt
In 2011, Turia Pitt set out to compete in an ultra marathon across the harsh Kimberley region. A few hours later she would be fighting for her life, after suffering horrific burns when a bushfire trapped her and other competitors on the side of a hill. 60 Minutes has followed every step of Turia’s recovery. She’s undergone 16 grueling operations. Her boyfriend Michael, has been with her all the way. Now it’s time for Turia to remove her mask for good. This is a story of love, courage and inspiration. But sadly, there’s a dark side to this story. Turia still has not been able to hold the organisers of the doomed race to account. Despite damning findings by the Western Australian Government, Racing the Planet has refused to accept liability, or offer Turia adequate compensation for what will be decades of ongoing treatment and rehabilitation. Its owner, Mary Gadams, runs Racing the Planet through a web of international companies, and for two years has avoided our questions and evaded our cameras. Finally, after a search across 3 continents, 60 Minutes has tracked her down.
Reporter: Michael Usher Producers: Ali Smith, Stephen Rice

The Humpback
It’s not often we get to tell a positive environmental story… usually it’s doom and gloom and threats of extinction. But right now, one of the animal kingdom’s great comebacks is there for all to see – up and down Australia’s east coast. An estimated 16-thousand humpback whales are slowly but surely migrating north to breed and calve. And their favourite playground is Queensland’s Hervey Bay – where thousands gather to make acrobatic leaps and slap their pectoral fins. Charles Wooley has just joined their migration for an experience he’ll never forget.
Reporter: Charles Wooley Producer: David Alrich

Crude Solution
Last Sunday, 60 Minutes revealed that two chemicals, which become highly toxic when mixed with oil, have been used in Australian waters to clean up two recent oil spills. The chemicals are COREXIT 9500 and COREXIT 9527. When COREXIT 9500 is mixed with oil, toxicity to biological matter increases 52 fold. Both chemicals were used in the Gulf of Mexico after BP’s Deep Water Horizon oil spill in 2010, the world’s worst ever offshore oil disaster. In the 3 years since the U.S. disaster, tens of thousands of Americans have fallen ill and some have died. Marine life, including dolphins and turtles, continue to wash ashore on a regular basis, poisoned by the oil and COREXIT mixture. 60 Minutes revealed that 2000 litres of COREXIT 9527 was used to clean up the oil spill when the Chinese bulk carrier, the Shen Neng, ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef in 2010. 45,000 litres of COREXIT 9500 and 9527 was used to clean up the Montara Oil spill, 220 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia. 60 Minutes also revealed that 19,000 litres of COREXIT 9500 is currently stored in Darwin and Gladstone, and would be used if an oil spill occurred today. This Sunday, we reveal that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has changed its stance, but the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority is still refusing to act.
Producer: Jo Townsend

8pm Sunday on Nine.