Cleanaway’s New Chum site.
Cleanaway’s New Chum site.

‘The time for talk is over’: Council takes stance on waste

IPSWICH City Council has voted to establish two working groups to provide input on how to better manage waste issues in the region.

The mayoral minute was passed unanimously at a council meeting on Tuesday, before the State Government made comments about the council’s role in what operations it allows to be undertaken in the city.

It comes after local waste facility operators found themselves in hot water over dump fires, PFAS contamination and other toxic waste matters.

Mayor Teresa Harding proposed the establishment of a Waste and Mining Working Group and another separate industry representative working group to support it.

She will chair both groups and all councillors are invited to participate as members.

“As a matter of priority, I propose that we leverage the collective knowledge of the members of these groups to develop a Clean Slate white paper,” she said.

“The purpose of this white paper is to make explicit the current challenges we face and the opportunities to remedy these, and in consultation with members, to determine a preferred future state for waste and mining in Ipswich.”

Fire at Cleanaway's New Chum landfill site on July 19.
Fire at Cleanaway's New Chum landfill site on July 19.

The groups will also provide input on the upcoming review of council’s Materials Recovery Plan, council’s submission to the development of the CoMSEQ Waste Management Plan and on other waste related issues.

Cr Harding said the Ipswich City Council local government area receives approximately 58 per cent of all waste disposed of in Queensland

“We do need to work together to make sure each level of government do what they’re supposed to do,” Cr Harding said.

Deputy Mayor and Division 3 Councillor Marnie Doyle said the time for change was now.

“I see the working group as a vehicle where I will be strongly advocating for appropriate professionals and experts to guide us through this,” she said.

“I won’t be happy just to have a talk-fest as part of the working group.

“We need to review our current planning scheme, identify changes and opportunities to affect real change as well as look at our new planning scheme to work out what we need to put in place to make sure this doesn’t continue to happen.”

Division 4 Cr Russell Milligan said the proposal was exactly what council needed to do when speaking to the mayor at Tuesday’s meeting.

“With respect to current jurisdictional arrangements, clearly council has fewer of the options amongst the levels of government and I believe this initiative that you’re proposing is exactly what council needs to do.”