Claims recycling has been 'dumped in landfill for months'

A WHISTLEBLOWER claims the Ipswich City Council has been routinely dumping recycling in landfill for three months.

In extraordinary scenes at the council's ordinary meeting yesterday, Councillor Paul Tully revealed a source told him the council had been dumping entire loads of kerbside recycling into landfill for about 12 weeks - not four weeks as reported last week.

Cr Tully asked a series of questions of acting chief executive officer Gary Kellar including whether the claims were correct and who authorised and knew about the process.

Last week Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said recycling had been diverted to landfill for the past four weeks due to poor contamination rates.

At the meeting Cr Tully asked; "Given the citywide importance of this issue to ratepayers and residents and the need for transparency and accountability, why were councillors not advised prior to the 16th of April?"

Mr Kellar took the questions on notice. Cr Tully's question on notice took Mr Kellar and Cr Antoniolli by surprise.

The mayor said the council would investigate the whistleblower's claims but was concerned with how Cr Tully raised the issue.

"To raise it in such a public forum puts a whistleblower at risk," Cr Antoniolli said.

He said the questions needed to be taken seriously, but said; "one would hope that they are not vexatious".

"I would have made such a report through the CEO or through the CCC if required," Cr Antoniolli said.

Earlier in the meeting the mayor declared the council could take credit for putting the problem of recycling in the national spotlight.

He said the catastrophe brewing in China had been largely ignored by Australian governments and residents.

"Recycling is broken in this country and after our announcement that became painfully clear," he said.

"Dozens of other councils have come forward and expressed their own recycling challenges as if our announcement has given them an opportunity to be honest with their community."

"The events of the last week were more about coming clean with our community about being honest about our situation," he said.

The whistleblower, through Cr Tully, alleged a significant amount of recycling had been going to landfill for the past three months. Councillors also endorsed a motion to reinvigorate the city's waste and recycling program.