Council and community disappointed by court’s Wanless decision

18 May 2023

Ipswich City Council will continue to represent the interests of its community despite the Supreme Court of Queensland dismissing calls for a review into the Queensland Government’s decision to call-in the Wanless Recycling Park Pty Ltd development application.

In September 2021, council rejected part of the Wanless application for a new landfill at Ebenezer, while supporting a proposed transfer and resource recovery facility. The Supreme Court’s ruling was in response to applications seeking a statutory order for a review of the Deputy Premier’s decision to call-in this application in February 2022.

Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Chair Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the court’s decision was extremely disappointing and now clears the way for the Queensland Government to assess the application and potentially approve another landfill for Ipswich.

“Unfortunately, council had already made its decision on this application and refused the establishment of a new landfill for Ipswich. The Deputy Premier’s decision to call-in the application overrules council’s decision.

“Council will continue to fight on behalf of the Ipswich community. The Deputy Premier will need to consider the opposition to this proposal, and the frustration our community is feeling, in his assessment,” Mayor Harding said.

“The State has made a conscious decision to take the decision-making power for the Wanless proposal out of the hands of council. Therefore, it is the State that must answer to our community if another landfill site is ultimately forced on Ipswich residents.”

The Supreme Court dismissed three separate applications opposing the Minister's call-in decision. These were lodged by a group of local residents and joint applicants Austin BMI Pty Ltd, Veolia Environmental Services (Australia) Pty Ltd and JJ Richards Ti Tree Pty Ltd trading as Ti Tree Bioenergy. Council was one of the respondents in the case.

The Supreme Court also refused stay applications, requesting the assessment process be held until an appeal on the matter could be heard. This means the Deputy Premier, as Planning Minister, can legally proceed with the assessment and determination of the Wanless development application.

Mayor Harding said council and its ratepayers would again be penalised by waste companies fighting matters in the courts.

"Council made a responsible decision in accordance with the relevant legislation and in line with the expectation of our community when partially approving the Wanless application for a new recycling facility," Mayor Harding said.

"The decision by the Minister to call-in the application has robbed Ipswich residents of autonomy over their city's future.

“The Queensland Government cannot continue to promote significant residential growth in Ipswich, while also continuing to consider dumping more landfill on us.

The Deputy Premier has applied for costs from the court action from Ipswich City Council and other applicants.

“Council will be making a submission, and will await the determination of the court,” Mayor Harding said.

Mayor Harding said council would continue to stand by its community in investing resources into implementing the Waste and Circular Economy Transformation Policy Directive and transition the city’s future away from landfill.