A $400 million waste to energy plant is proposed for Swanbank.
A $400 million waste to energy plant is proposed for Swanbank.

Ipswich MPs now united against controversial incinerator

IPSWICH’S four Labor state MPs have come out in united opposition against the controversial incinerator proposed for the city.

In a joint statement, Bundamba MP Lance McCallum, Ipswich West MP Jim Madden, Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard and Jordan MP Charis Mullen said they do not support the proposal by waste giant Remondis.

The $400 million waste to energy project planned for Swanbank was declared a coordinated project by the State Government’s Coordinator General in June.

MPs Jim Madden, Di Farmer, Jennifer Howard and Charis Mullen on Brisbane Street in West Ipswich.
MPs Jim Madden, Di Farmer, Jennifer Howard and Charis Mullen on Brisbane Street in West Ipswich.

The four local MPs had been criticised for not speaking out strongly against the proposal, with residents worried about the health impacts of another waste facility in the city.

Their statement comes a month-and-a-half out from the state election.

Proponent Remondis says the project would create 200 jobs during construction and up to 70 locals jobs once it is operational.

Ipswich mayor Teresa Harding opposes the plant but the process is out of Ipswich City Council’s hands for now.

It is up to the State Government to assess the environmental impact and conduct community consultation.

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If it gets to the council for approval - a process which could take up to two years - it will only be able to assess it against the planning scheme.

Mr McCallum said it was “inappropriate” for the plant to be located in his electorate and there needed to be a greater focus on avoiding the creation of waste altogether.

His predecessor Jo-Ann Miller was a staunch opponent of the project during her time in office.

Bundamba MP Lance McCallum
Bundamba MP Lance McCallum

“We need less waste and more job creating recycling which is better for our community, the environment and the economy,” Mr McCallum said.

“A waste to energy facility is inappropriate to be placed in the middle of an urban community that is undergoing significant population growth and development.”

Ms Howard said projects like waste to energy “should be located away from our fast growing, highly populated urban community” to a “more suitable” location.

Mrs Mullen said waste projects could not encourage greater use of waste or discourage reuse and recycling.

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“My constituents, like many Queenslanders, are managing their own household waste differently with a view to reducing their waste as much as possible,” she said.

“This is something I am very supportive of and is in line with our government’s commitment to Queensland becoming a zero waste state where waste is avoided, reused and recycled to the greatest possible extent.”

Mr Madden said his stance against the proposal had not changed since a speech in Parliament in May last year.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.