Ipswich City Council has settled a legal matter with Bio-Recycle in the Planning and Environment Court on Friday.
Ipswich City Council has settled a legal matter with Bio-Recycle in the Planning and Environment Court on Friday.

Council settles legal battle with waste company

IPSWICH City Council has settled a legal matter with a waste company, saving at least $250,000 in legal fees, but an unauthorised extension at a local landfill will remain in place.

The council still faces three ongoing courtroom battles with other waste operators at a combined cost in the millions of dollars.

An appeal before the Planning and Environment Court after the council refused an application by Bio-Recycle to increase the height of its Swanbank landfill by five metres was settled on Friday.

During the appeal it was found Bio-Recycle had already exceeded the original approved height by one metre.

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The council negotiated with the company and rather than go to trial over the original refusal for the five metre extension, both parties agreed the unauthorised one metre extension will remain.

This was accepted by the court.

By going down this route, the council estimates this would save ratepayers an extra $250,000 and $500,000 in legal fees.

“It is important to note that the landfill operations were complete, there were no continuing deliveries of material on site and there were no further operating impacts on the community,” the council’s planning and regulatory services general manager Peter Tabulo said.

“On this basis, the option of seeking the operator to excavate the one metre of overfill was dismissed due to not wanting to create further impact on the community once again from this site, from truck movements, dust and noise nuisances.

“The outcome achieved therefore, was that the landfill remains at its current levels including the unlawful volumes that have already been deposited.

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“The operator proceeds with capping it and rehabilitating the site, and we have included additional environmental requirements on the finishing of the landform.”

The council says this outcome will result in no more activity occurring on the site, other than rehabilitation and maintenance, a significant financial saving and a better set of environmental conditions being applied.

The council still has three appeals ongoing for other Ipswich waste or landfill matters and Mr Tabulo said the likely legal bill for those would be in the millions of dollars.

“At this stage all of those matters are proceeding to trial given the significant nature of the particular proposals,” he said.

Bio-Recycle Australia was fined $300,000 after it illegally dumped hundreds of thousands of tonnes of excess waste in September.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.