Extensive council submission proposed on Wanless call-in

28 June 2022

Ipswich City Council has prepared an extensive submission to the State Government on its decision to call-in the Wanless landfill proposal and is urging residents to do the same before the 30 June 2022 deadline.

Despite council rejecting an application for a new landfill at Ebenezer, the Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning has used ministerial powers under the Planning Act 2016 to call in, reassess and redecide the development application.

The called-in application is currently being assessed by the State Government and has now entered the public notification period.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding strongly encouraged residents who may be affected by this development to make a submission to the Planning Minister before the Thursday deadline.

Councillors will consider council’s submission at its Ordinary Council Meeting on Thursday.

“Council had thoroughly assessed the Wanless proposal when it made its original decision, and we stand by our decision as well as our response to the Planning Minister’s notice of a proposed call-in that was made in December 2021,” Mayor Harding said.

“Council, its planning officers and an Independent Review Panel agreed with the decision to approve the resource recovery components of the original application, but to oppose the creation of yet another new landfill site for Ipswich.”

Council’s submission to the Planning Minister will focus on several key areas, including resource recovery rates and contribution to landfill diversion, economic viability and a lack of need for the Wanless landfill.

It will also focus on non-compliances with the resource recovery and waste activity regulation (TLPI No.1 of 2021), issues associated with the management of groundwater, a tailings dam and job creation claims.

“Ipswich City Council remains absolutely and strongly of the view that landfills and other major waste applications are matters of state interest as they significantly impact the environmental interests of this part of the state”, council’s proposed submission notes.

“On three previous occasions, Ipswich City Council has written to the former Planning Minister to request an application for a landfill to be called in.

“On these previous occasions, the proposed landfills were generally of greater size or had the potential for equal or in some cases greater detrimental environmental impact to the Ipswich community.

“As a result of the former Planning Minister refusing to call in any other landfill proposals, the council has had to make a significant investment for the greater good and to protect the interests of the Ipswich community, and in doing so has spent more than $8 million in defending appeals against its decisions in relation to these major landfill applications.

“Appeal hearings for three of these matters have been concluded and the decisions of the Court are pending.

“In addition, a previous matter relating to landfill has been decided in council’s favour.

“Had the earlier landfill applications been the subject of a ministerial call in, considerable uncertainty and the $8 million in legal expenses defending council’s decisions would have been avoided, not to mention the expenses born by the other parties along with the Queensland Government.”

The proposed submission will urge the Planning Minister to follow the same course of action as council.

“As the council representing this major and fastest growing part of the State of Queensland, we will ask that the Planning Minister carefully considers all material, including council’s original reasons for refusal when making a decision,” Mayor Harding said.

“After giving full and careful consideration of this matter, it will be recommended that the Planning Minister makes the same decision as the Council to refuse the landfill component of the Wanless development application.

“Refusing the landfill component of the development application would be the best course of action especially noting the relevance of this application to the three other major landfill applications that are currently before the Planning and Environment Court.”

Mayor Harding said council would continue to serve the needs of its community and to invest resources into implementing the Waste and Circular Economy Transformation Policy Directive.

“The residents of Ebenezer and surrounding suburbs expect the highest standards of scrutiny of any new landfill proposals in their backyard and that is what council did and will continue to do so on behalf of its residents,” Mayor Harding said.