EXCLUSIVE: Call made on controversial waste to energy plant
THE STATE Government says its declaration of a controversial waste to energy plant as a coordinated project will result in rigorous assessment before it is given the green light.
Waste company Remondis has proposed the $400 million project for Swanbank, but has met with stiff opposition from residents and the likes of former Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller, who say the plant would have negative environmental and social impacts on a city already concerned about the scale of waste-related industry moving in.
State Development Minister Kate Jones said the decision did not guarantee the proposal by waste company Remondis would go ahead and it would face the most rigorous assessment process available under Queensland law.
"I understand that Ipswich doesn't want to be the dumping ground of Queensland," she said.
"Having previously served as Environment Minister and with close family in Ipswich all my life, I understand what an important issue this is for the local community.
"Since coming into the role as State Development Minister in May, I've met with the local state members who have made it very clear that they have significant concerns about this proposal which reflects the concerns of the community.
"I've also met with the mayor of Ipswich who made it clear that the she believes the community want their say."
The proposal for the $400 million project had sat with the Office of the Coordinator-General for more than 18 months before this decision was made.
"This is not a rubber stamp," Ms Jones said.
"This is the beginning of a long and detailed community consultation process."
A spokesperson for the Office of the Coordinator-General said coordinated project status does not mean it is approved or has State Government approval.
An environmental impact statement is required and the proposal will still need approval from Ipswich City Council and an environmental authority from the Department of Environment and Science.
"(This) does not imply government approval, support for, or commitment to the project," the spokesperson said.
"Rather, it means the project requires rigorous assessment of all environmental, social and economic impacts.
"The Coordinator-General will coordinate all government agencies in the evaluation of the project to ensure potential impacts and issues are assessed.
"The project will require extensive community consultation."
The Coordinator-General will now prepare a draft terms of reference for the environmental impact statement and public comment will be invited regarding the matters Remondis must address in the EIS.