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

Waste company: Most Ipswich residents ‘in favour’ of incinerator

IPSWICH residents will soon have access to more detailed information on the controversial incinerator project proposed for the city.

Waste company Remondis knows it has a big task ahead to convince the community of the merits of such a project, which would create 70 local jobs if it gets up and running.

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

Ipswich’s four Labor MPs put out a statement earlier this month saying they were all united against the proposal.

The proposed $400 million facility has been met with backlash from residents.
The proposed $400 million facility has been met with backlash from residents.

They have made a joint submission to the Coordinator General asking for the project to be rejected.

Ipswich mayor Teresa Harding said she too does not want to see the proposal come to fruition and told the QT in July she was yet to speak to anyone on the street who wanted it.

Remondis says its own internal polling is telling them that “a majority of Ipswich residents” are in favour of the proposal.

The State Government, alongside Remondis, controls all elements of the public consultation period and this is expected to start soon.

It could be a couple of years before a development application is submitted to Ipswich City Council for final approval after the environmental impacts are assessed.

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A Remondis spokesman said the $400 million waste to energy facility forms part of the overall proposed $700 million waste handling precinct.

“A comprehensive community consultation plan will involve direct reach-outs to locals,” he said.

“There’ll be many other opportunities for locals to ask questions and have their say via written submissions and at various meetings.

“Our own internal polling tells us that a majority of Ipswich residents are in favour of the proposal.

“People are signalling that they prefer the modern and more environmentally friendly approach of waste being converted to electricity rather than being dumped in holes in the ground.”

The spokesman said the Swanbank site was “ideal” for what is being proposed.

“There’s an existing waste management operation, meaning long-term supply to an energy from waste plant,” he said.

“There’s existing water supply (which is) essential for making the facility work and there’s power infrastructure, meaning newly created electricity can be fed into the grid.”

Local anti-waste and residents’ groups have voiced their opposition to the proposal with concerns about the potential health impacts of yet another waste facility in Ipswich.

“There are two such (waste to energy) facilities within 300m of Remondis’ international headquarters in Lünen, Germany,” the spokesman said.

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“The facilities are constructed to the strictest environmental, emissions and health standards.

“This is the same technology that Remondis wants to bring to Ipswich.

“There will be a significant investment in resource recovery; sorting metals, timber, paper and cardboard and plastics for recycling.

“Remaining waste that would have gone to landfill at the site will generate up to 50 megawatts of baseload renewable energy per year, enough to power 50,000 homes.

“Even with accelerated recycling endeavours, the fact remains that there will always be rubbish that can’t be recycled, and we need to look at alternatives beyond putting it in the ground.

“The facility we’re proposing is a modern and more environmentally friendly way of doing things. That’s what we’re asking the community to consider.”

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.