Waste association CEO clashes with council over landfill

THE CEO of Queensland's waste industry association has written to Ipswich City Council to challenge "unprecedented requests" after letters were sent to three companies concerning landfill development applications before council.

The council wrote to Cleanaway, Lantrak and BMI requesting further information to assess the applications.

A letter sent to to Cleanaway Solid Waste Pty Ltd about its material change of use application for the Swanbank/New Chum Waste Activity Area noted recent legislative and policy reforms by the Queensland Government which is "aimed at significantly changing the way in which we deal with waste in Queensland."

"As the Ipswich City Council has recently received an influx of development applications for new and expanded landfills, council holds significant concerns that the proposed development may undermine the objectives being sought by the Queensland Government," the letter reads.

"Council holds significant concerns that the proposed development, along with all landfill proposals currently being assessed by the Ipswich City Council, are inconsistent with expressed planning principles that promote ecological sustainability to seek to reduce the need for landfill and maximise recycling."

In response, Waste Recycling Industry Association Queensland CEO Rick Ralph wrote a letter to council interim administrator Greg Chemello, decrying the "eleventh hour information request".

"The timing of the information requests after over a year of lodgement with council for each development application is profoundly disappointing," Mr Ralph wrote.

"This is especially so in respect of Lantrak's DA which was due for council decision on Friday 30 August.

"(It) should have been issued several months ago. It is also reflective of continued delays and barriers in the DA review process impacting our industry within Ipswich and appears to be a deliberate attempt by your council to push these DA applications into a position where they are unable to respond and hence are refused."

Mr Ralph said the information requests were "nearly impossible" for each company to respond to and "respectfully" requested them to be rescinded.

"The applicants in WRIQ's opinion have already provided council with detailed needs analysis as part of their DA's which included information in respect of market volumes, market capacity and current and future landfill disposal demand," he said.

"WRIQ advocates that there is an ongoing need for inert landfill capacity in south east Queensland as there is no alternative disposal solution at present.

"The waste and recycling industry provides considerable economic benefit to both Ipswich City Council and the wider Ipswich area... the proposed new facilities will continue those benefits.

"The council's deliberate attempt to delay and prevent these projects is jeopardising 428 jobs and $25million in wages paid to Ipswich residents."

Mr Chemello said Mr Ralph's assertion that the requests were "planning decisions" was incorrect.

"In one case, an initial information request was sent to the applicant," Mr Chemello said.

"In the other two cases, council made requests for further information from the respective companies. No decisions have been made as yet. That was made clear in all three instances. The companies have the right to supply the information or not. Only then will council make a decision."

Mr Chemello said the community "rightfully expects" council to obtain comprehensive information from waste applications and to conduct a thorough assessment process.

"Council agrees there is a need for certainty, from both industry and community perspectives," he said.

"Council will insure that the industry fully complies with the planning scheme and the statutory Temporary Local Planning Instrument."