Picture: Jason Edwards
Picture: Jason Edwards

PNG waste to be dumped in Ipswich

IT'S been revealed a hazardous waste management company in Papau New Guinea has been granted a permit to dump its waste at an Ipswich landfill site.

The permit was granted to Pasifika Eagle Chemicals Limited by the Federal Government's former Department of the Environment and Energy at the start of the year to transport its oily wastewater to Queensland.

The department dissolved at the start of this year and is now part of the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment.

As part of the permit conditions, the waste will travel from the port of export in Port Moresby, through the Solomon Islands by ship, before arriving at the Port of Brisbane and taken by road to the Cleanaway Operations Pty Ltd Facility at Narangba for processing.

It will be separated and undergo three further disposal operations, with solid residues ending up at Cleanaway's New Chum landfill site.

The permit period runs from January 2020 to December 2020.

It's understood another PNG company was also granted a permit to import its waste mineral oils.

It's the same site that was put on notice after PFAS was detected in its surface water and groundwater last year.

Ipswich Residents Against Toxic Environments president Jim Dodrill said PNG is not the only place where toxic waste was coming from.

He said a right to information request to the Department of Environment and Science back in 2012 revealed Cleanaway was receiving waste from other countries around the South Pacific at its New Chum site.

"I feel it's totally unacceptable. Why should Ipswich be accepting waste from other countries? Never mind from other states around Australia," Mr Dodrill said.

"We would have thought that because the Cleanaway site was under investigation for contamination to the environment since last year, we would have thought that the State Government would have put a hold on the receiving of any further toxic waste into the site.

"We're surprised that they've allowed the Federal Government to refer this waste from New Guinea.

"What we're asking for now is for the site to be shut down immediately, for there to be a full investigation into the sources of all of the toxic waste that has come into that site and a full investigation into the contamination of the water table and the surrounding environments by the company."

A Cleanaway spokesperson said imports are approved by the PNG and Australian governments under the Waigani Convention.

"Inert residues are sent to landfill after treatment. These wastes present no risk to human health or the environment," they said.

"Cleanaway continues to support the development of the environmental sector in Pacific Island neighbours as part of our social license to operate."

The State Government's Department of Environment and Science has been contacted for comment.