21 June 2023
Ipswich City Council’s lengthy battle with three waste companies has all but concluded with decisions handed down on three appeals related to landfill sites yesterday.
The long-awaited reserved decisions on these cases, which wrapped up in the Environment and Planning Court on Friday 13 August 2021, related to three waste companies – Austin BMI Pty Ltd, Cleanaway Solid Waste Pty Ltd, and Lantrak Property Holdings, appealing council determinations on two new landfills and an existing waste site to be extended in Ipswich.
Council had refused the Cleanaway and Austin BMI applications and the Lantrak application was deemed refused.
Judge Michael Williamson KC had presided over a legal hearing that lasted 44 days and saw evidence presented by more than 40 technical experts and members of the Ipswich community. He found that:
Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Chair Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the decisions were mostly good news for the community but tinged with some disappointment.
“Council has fought alongside residents and I am pleased that we are winning the fight against having more landfills in Ipswich,” Mayor Harding said.
“Council has fought long and hard on behalf of the Ipswich community on this matter. And Ipswich residents have let their thoughts be known as well.”
Mayor Harding and some of the Ipswich residents were in court for the decisions yesterday and expressed relief at the two wins and a degree of satisfaction that conditions were to be imposed for Austin BMI.
“All three applications were refused due to significant concerns regarding environmental and amenity impacts,” Mayor Harding said.
“Local residents have since endured odour and amenity impacts after the significant rainfall events in early 2022.
“It is extremely frustrating that the Ipswich community continues to suffer and council wastes millions of dollars fighting these matters in the court.”
The original decisions made by council dated back to September 2019 (Lantrak), October 2019 (Cleanaway) and March 2020 (Austin BMI).
“The total cost to council and ratepayers was almost $7 million,” Mayor Harding said.
“The Ipswich community is doing it tough in these challenging economic times and it is not lost on many that a council budget is being handed down this week on the back of these very costly legal cases.
“We are determined to set the terms for a waste industry that brings the benefits of the circular economy to our residents while looking for ways to reduce landfill,” Mayor Harding said.
The decisions today follow the announcement on Monday 19 June from Queensland’s Deputy Premier to refuse the landfill and rehabilitation components of the Wanless Recycling Park.
“Council thoroughly assessed the Wanless proposal when it made its original decision in September 2021 to approve the resource recovery components of the original application, but to oppose the creation of yet another new landfill site for Ipswich,” Mayor Harding said.
“We stood by that decision, and the State Government’s decision to refuse the landfill and void rehabilitation components of the development application vindicates that approach.”