Waste market sounding encouraging greenhouse gases?

Hume waste precinctThe ACT Government’s ‘market sounding’ on waste does not prioritise reducing waste or increasing recycling while it provides support for incineration or biogas or other greenhouse gas emitting ‘energy from waste’ proposals.

Energy from waste is backed up in the document with the proposal: “A feed-in tariff may be offered for the renewable portion of any energy generated from waste. It would likely be set a rate between the prices previously awarded in the Territory’s large scale renewable energy auctions, ie $79-$186/MWhr.”

It is not clear how the Government will make decisions on the proposals it receives. The market sounding does not include a process for applying the waste hierarchy and is meanwhile encouraging the least preferable options through offering a subsidy via a feed-in tariff to get energy from waste, even though this will produce greenhouse emissions.

The ACT Government launched a ‘market sounding’ through TendersACT on 21 February 2017 calling for ideas “To Build and Operate or Provide New Waste Services” (38532-01).

The 2015-16 ACT Budget provided funding of $2.8million over two years for a full business case to be prepared on “alternative waste management strategies”. Budget Outlook 2015-16 p129 under “Improved Waste Resource Recovery” said:

“The Government will undertake a feasibility study to investigate long-term options for the management and treatment of waste in the ACT, including the development of a full business case for a waste to energy facility.”

For more Conservation Council discussion on waste to energy see here.

The Study is required to report by end June 2017 on its findings and the Waste Market Sounding will provide information to develop a business case for government leading to a roadmap for waste in the ACT.

This roadmap will be considered by Cabinet in the latter part of 2017 to help with decisions on a future for waste management in the ACT especially around expenditure in the 2018-19 Budget to be presented in June 2018.

The request for expressions of interest includes a description of waste activities in the ACT along with a spreadsheet of ACT waste data which provides the government’s most up-to-date understanding of sixty waste streams being produced in the ACT.

The ACT Waste Feasibility Study consultation groups were told in February that the market sounding was in four parts:

  1. enhanced regional drop-off centres (RDOCs) that include container deposit scheme (CDS) (to be rolled out in the ACT after watching the NSW experience with CDS)
  2. new processing facilities, for example:
    • processing red bin waste [residential waste bins – eventually all will be converted to red lids] (MRF like)
    • processing third bin material (garden waste + food)
    • producing energy from waste (biogas, incineration)
  3. “tinder for dirt” and a dirt bank – so people with surplus dirt can provide it to others needing it
  4. Multi-unit development (MUD) advisory services with follow-up action

It is not clear how the Government will make decisions on the proposals it receives. The ACT Waste Feasibility Study has in the past recognised the importance of the waste hierarchy – starting from most preferred: avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, treat, dispose.

The market sounding does not include a process for applying the waste hierarchy and is encouraging the least preferable options through offering a subsidy through feed-in tariffs to get energy from waste, even though this will produce greenhouse emissions.

Minister Meegan Fitzharris in her Foreword to the Market Sounding document said: “The Government is seeking innovative and sustainable proposals from both the waste and non-waste sectors on how best to achieve the ACT’s waste management objectives. This marketing sounding provides an opportunity for local, national and international businesses and not-for-profit organisations to showcase ideas and solutions that will contribute to the ACT achieving national best practice in waste management.”

If you want to see the full documents go to TendersACT website and go through the registration process and download over 20mb of files. Two of the key documents are  available here: the request for expressions of interest and the spreadsheet of waste data.

There was a briefing on the process 28 February 2017 and the closing date for submissions (20 pages maximum) was 14 April 2017 to [email protected]. Pictured is the Hume Waste Precinct.

Municipal waste resource page

A resource page on Canberra’s municipal waste policies and responses with links to some Conservation Council materials, ACT Government documents and a few other places.

Conservation Council

ACT Government

Page of links to various audits and reports http://www.tccs.act.gov.au/recycling-and-waste/resources/reports-and-forms/reports-and-audits

Other links

National Park Feasibility Reference Group

Following the 2016 ACT election the November 2016 Parliamentary Agreement included: “Undertake a feasibility study into establishing a new northern Canberra region National Park, including existing nature reserves around Mount Majura, Mount Ainslie and Mulligans Flat”.

The Conservation Council Board at its November 2016 meeting established a sub-committee to discuss policy on a northern national park and to develop a focus for the proposed feasibility study to take with outcomes to be referred to the Biodiversity Working Group.

The Conservation Council has now been invited by the ACT Government to provide two representatives to the National Park Feasibility Reference Group and has nominated Larry O’Loughlin, Executive Director, and Jenny Bounds, Convenor, Biodiversity Working Group. The National Parks Association has also been asked for a nomination.

The National Park Feasibility Reference Group (NatPark FRG?) will be chaired by the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment Dr Kate Auty and the draft terms of reference are below. The first meeting of the Group has been scheduled for 7 March.

DRAFT TERMS OF REFERENCE as of 31 January 2017

National Park Feasibility Reference Group

  1. Overview

The ACT Government has made a commitment to undertake a feasibility study into establishing a new northern Canberra region national park, including existing nature reserves around Mount Majura, Mount Ainslie and Mulligans Flat.

The planning and management of parks and reserves in the ACT falls under the responsibilities of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage. The Minister has resolved to establish a reference group to provide direction and advise him on the merits of this proposal.

  1. Purpose of the National Park Feasibility Reference Group

The role of the Reference Group is to:

  • represent a range of community groups that may have an interest in the possible establishment of a new national park;
  • evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal; and
  • make a recommendation to the Minister on whether/how to proceed.
  1. Membership

The Reference Group is comprised of stakeholders who represent conservation, natural resource management, recreation, scientific research, historic cultural heritage, Aboriginal traditional and contemporary values and community and neighbour interests.

Ten to twelve members will form the Reference Group, however the membership may be expanded as required. The Conservation Council and the Recreation Users Group may have two representatives to cover the broader membership and interests of these peak bodies.

The ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, Dr Kate Auty, has agreed to chair the reference group. In addition to Dr Auty, the Reference Group will comprise:

     Issues/Values/Interest Community Organisation
     Nature conservation, landscape, natural resource management
  • Conservation Council ACT Region (2 representatives)
  • ACT National Parks Association
  • Natural Resource Management Advisory Committee
     Recreation
  • ACT PCS Recreation Users Group (2 representatives)
     Aboriginal cultural connections to Country
  • Aboriginal representative
     Scientific research/woodland restoration
  • Woodlands and Wetlands Trust
     Community interests
  • Gungahlin Community Council
  • North Canberra Community Council
     Youth
  • Youth Coalition of the ACT
     Neighbours
  • ACT Rural Landholders Association
     Cultural heritage
  • ACT Heritage Council

 

  1. The Approach

A two-stage process to the feasibility study is proposed:

Stage 1:

  • Formation of this Reference Group to discuss the proposal to establish a national park based on the ACT’s lowland grassy woodlands. Key questions the Reference Group is asked to consider include:
  1. What would be the objectives of establishing a national park as proposed?
  2. What would be the environmental, economic and social benefits and costs compared with the status quo?
  3. What would be the risks associated with such a declaration?

Other key questions may be identified by the Reference Group.

  • Development of a resources paper to support the deliberations of the Reference Group. The paper will include:
  • a summary of previous work done on this proposal;
  • information on the extent of ACT lowland grassy woodland;
  • assignment of ACT reserves to IUCN protected area management categories;
  • the level of protection currently provided under the ACT statutory and land planning framework; and
  • current management actions to enhance the condition of lowland grassy woodlands.

The most recent proposal for a national park by the National Parks Association of the ACT will also be provided to the Group. Additional information will be provided as required. Guest presenters may also be invited to meetings to provide specialist input.

The completion of Stage 1 should culminate in a short report with a recommendation (or recommendations) to the Minister including whether or not to establish a national park and proceed to stage 2.

Stage 2:

The detailed feasibility study will include discussion of the issues identified in Stage 1, advice provided by the Reference Group and a cost/benefit analysis. The study will also consider the process that would be required to create a new national park should the ACT Government decide to proceed, including an opportunity for wider community consultation as part of the Territory Plan variation process.

The role of the Reference Group in Stage 2 will be to provide input into the feasibility study. This will be agreed by the Group and may take the form of a workshop, meetings and/or written submissions.

  1. Payment

Reference Group members will not receive payment for participation.

  1. Term of membership

The term of membership will be until the completion of Stage 1 and Stage 2 (should the feasibility study proceed).

  1. Meetings

Meetings will be chaired by the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment and held at a central location.

It is envisaged that two or three meetings will be held during Stage 1. The Reference Group may decide that additional meetings are required.

The structure, length and timing of meetings will be decided at Meeting 1, which will be scheduled for 2 hours.

At least ten working days prior to the first meeting the members will receive: the Agenda for the meeting; the Terms of Reference; a copy of the Resources Paper and the proposal for a national park developed by the National Parks Association of the ACT.

  1. Advice to Minister

The advice provided to the Minister by the Reference Group will be based on a majority view. Any dissenting views will also be provided to the Minister.

  1. Role of Chair

The Chair will:

  • guide factual discussion
  • ensure all reference group members have equal opportunity to participate
  • Convey Reference Group deliberations and recommendations to the Minister.
  1. Role of Reference Group members

Reference Group members will:

  • review and provide written and/or verbal advice and feedback on the issues raised in the resources paper, at Reference Group meetings or out of session if required.
  • represent the views and perspectives of their respective organisations and report back to their organisations on Reference Group activities
  • request the preparation of additional information as necessary.
  1. Reference Group member commitment

Reference Group members will:

  • disclose conflicts of interest
  • respect confidentiality should sensitive issues arise during Reference Group discussions
  • inform the secretariat if they are unable to attend a meeting and provide an alternative delegate.
  1. Role of Observers

Senior officers from the Environment Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate will participate as Observers at Reference Group meetings to contribute to discussions and provide information on ACT Government land management.

Observers will not participate in determining the advice the Reference Group provides to the Minister.

  1. Role of PCS Conservation Planning team

The Conservation Planning section of the ACT Parks and Conservation Service are the project managers and is the point of contact for all Reference Group matters.

Conservation Planning will:

  • provide all functions of the secretariat
  • provide an agenda at least ten working days prior to each meeting
  • provide papers at least ten working days prior to expected feedback from Reference Group members
  • distribute meeting notes to members within ten working days following each meeting.

Draft Terms of Reference as of 31 January 2017

Yellow Box Dispatch – February 2017

Yellow Box Dispatch February 2017

Big pictures and details

Welcome to the first Yellow Box Dispatch for 2017 with reports on just some of the environment-related activities in the ACT and region.

The beginning of the year is a good time to look forward and there have been a few gatherings where we have assessed coming opportunities and challenges.

The Conservation Council’s Biodiversity Working Group met at the end of January to refine our focus areas for the year. We noted some achievements – we were a key driver for the integration of nature conservation functions in ACT Government – and also looked to developing policies to protect mature trees in the landscape and to continue to meet the challenges of the impacts of urban development on our Bush Capital.

We have asked questions about what is happening on the Government’s commitment – along with support from the other political parties in the Assembly – for zero net greenhouse emissions by 2050 – at the latest. We have written to all parties to get support for creative engagement of the Assembly and the community to develop a pathway to reducing emissions to zero. What do we need to do, what are the options, how will Government do its part and how do we include all the community?

Please look at the events in this newsletter which show only some of the many activities of our member groups and some inquiries. We also advertise member group and other events on our Facebook page.

We look forward to working with you in 2017.

Larry O’Loughlin
Executive Director

Our vision: Nature is respected, protected and embraced by an ecologically sustainable, socially just and economically viable society which lives lightly on the planet.


Environment Exchanges are back for 2017!

Be part of an inspiring environment network as we explore a different theme on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Hear from fascinating guest speakers and engage in open and lively discussion about a range of topics in sustainability and environment. Visit our events page to peruse the line up or download and share our lovely flyer.

The lunchtime series includes sessions on mature trees, climate change, renewable energy, waste reduction and sustainable town planning.

Volunteer Needed – Contact [email protected] if you can help at Environment Exchanges and provide basic logistical support. Duties include setting up lunch, chairs and tables etc. We sweeten the deal with a free light lunch included at the event!


Mature trees in landscape – pillars of biodiversity

Mature trees are a biological keystone in the ecosystem. They provide habitat for wildlife, nurseries for seeds to grow and facilitate vital soil processes.

Several local groups are nominating “Loss of Native Hollow-bearing Trees” as a threatening process. This would be considered by the ACT Scientific Committee and if endorsed could lead to better protection of these trees.

Unfortunately we are rapidly erasing these pillars of biodiversity from the landscape. Given that these trees take hundreds of years to replace, urgent decisive action is needed before it is too late.

How can we restore what has already been lost? How can we protect what remains?

The first 2017 Environment Exchange will be held 12-2pm, February 28 at the Renewables Innovation Hub, 19-23 Moore Street, Turner ACT 2602.

We provide lunch to start – donations to cover costs are welcome. Please register here to help us plan the catering.


Women’s Environmental Leadership Australia – apply now for WELA 2017

Applications for WELA 2017 close Sunday 26 February – information and application forms

Are you a woman and an active environmentalist living in Australia? Are you looking to take your next step in leadership? Then WELA 2017 is for you!

The Women’s Environmental Leadership Australia (WELA) program will bring together 20 women environmentalists of different ages and diverse backgrounds for a challenging and inspiring program. Participants will be working on a variety of environmental issues and campaigns around the country, some with environment groups, some independently, and in both paid and unpaid roles.

The program includes:

  • three residential retreats in Victoria (May, July and October)
  • mentoring sessions with experienced women environmental leaders
  • small group projects on key issues facing women environmentalists
  • access to an ongoing supportive network of powerful women!

The retreats will be facilitated by Holly Hammond (Plan to Win) along with special guests with expertise in campaigning, political life, management, and many other aspects of leadership. The WELA Program information and application form: welaprogram.org.au

For further details or to speak to someone from the WELA 2017 team, email [email protected] with your phone number and a good time to call. One of Sue, Holly, Margaret will ring you back.

Green Institute, GPO Box 557, Canberra, ACT 2601 W: www.greeninstitute.org.au E: [email protected] T: +61 419 877 325


Plastics to fuel – fossil fuel industry for ACT?

The draft terms of reference for an inquiry panel on the Foy Group Limited waste plastic to fuel Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in Hume do not address the issue of whether the industry should be located in the ACT at all.

While the panel will go some way to looking at health impacts of pollution on local residents and the potential impact of disasters the panel is not being asked to look at whether this is a suitable long-term industry for the region.

The panel should be asked whether the ACT needs an industry proposing that up to 50 tonnes of plastic per day be imported into the ACT to be processed into fossil fuels and then for the ACT to manage the residues. The proposal comes from a company wanting to establish an industry rather than emerging from consultation or assessment under the ACT Waste Feasibility Study (see graphic).

That 50 tonnes would become 200 tonnes per day when the plant is operating at design capacity. It is also interesting to note that all plastics can be recycled and burning or heating and refining are not the only or even easy options.

At a time when the ACT is supposed to be reducing emissions from the transport sector we are considering importing waste, then burning fossil fuels to generate heat to refine the plastic into more fossil fuels.

It is unsustainable to reduce future greenhouse emissions through the light rail system but then generate more emissions from imported waste.

We might not have a proposed coal mine in the ACT but we do have a proposed fossil fuel facility. It is not clear that the Government has a process to say no but instead is only slowing down the process of saying yes.

See the Canberra Times article online ‘Panel appointed to Hume plastics to fuel factory inquiry‘.


Biodiversity issues in 2017

The Conservation Council’s Biodiversity Working Group is a key committee in the organisation, meeting monthly and reporting to the Board on the range of biodiversity issues facing us in the region.

The January meeting looked at priorities and emerging issues so as to identify where we need to focus our work over the year. Main issues included Planning Strategies; Threats to Biodiversity (for example including roaming cats and invasive weeds); Urban expansion-New greenfields developments; and then there are Planning Issues; Biodiversity Monitoring; Old/Paddock trees (see Environment Exchange 28 February); Reviews of Strategies and Plans for threatened species & communities; Plans of Management; Institutional arrangements – Restructure of LDA and National environment laws.

If you want more information on the work of the Biodiversity Working Group please contact us.


Lot’s happening, plenty to do on climate change

The Conservation Council, member groups, and many other people and organisations are interested in the ACT Government’s next steps on climate change, particularly to reduce the Territory’s greenhouse emissions to zero as soon as possible, remembering that all the parties elected in the 2016 ACT Legislative Assembly election agreed on 100% renewable energy for electricity by 2020 and zero net emissions by 2050 at the latest.

Among other things, the Conservation Council wrote to party leaders suggesting that a Select Committee should engage with the community on next steps. The Assembly did not establish such a Committee at its first sitting in December 2016 although we did receive a letter from the Chief Minister that the Government would consider the option of a select committee “as it assesses the best way to involve stakeholders and the community in the process”. He also wrote: “Any new policy development on a pathway to zero net emissions will include extensive public consultation and will seek to engage a broad cross-section of the Canberra community.”

Local climate change groups met as planned in late January to look at what to do in case we saw gaps in the Government’s approach. In particular we identified that there needed to be good genuine consultation so that the whole community is engaged and hopefully broadly agreeing on the steps needed to eliminate our community contribution to human induced greenhouse emissions. We recognised that we community groups need to be prepared to talk beyond our usual audiences and we need to encourage responses and genuinely listen.

Since the climate change groups meeting we have been informed by Minister Rattenbury’s office that he has written to the members of the Assembly Standing Committee on Environment and Transport and City Services “about the ACT Government’s planned action to develop a pathway to zero net greenhouse gas emissions, and to suggest the Committee may wish to conduct an inquiry on this topic”.

The Minister also wrote that the Environment Directorate “will begin to prepare a policy and action blueprint for an ACT pathway to zero net emissions by 2050 by the latest.” This would commence in 2017 and continue throughout 2018 and the Minister said that a discussion paper for public comment is planned for release by mid 2017 and “If the Committee could present final advice from any zero net emissions inquiry by September 2017, EPSDD could consider it in the development of its policy and action blueprint.”

The Directorate has also separately contacted environment groups to hold a roundtable probably 27 February to discuss both consultation approaches and strategies to reduce emissions.

The climate change groups are planning to meet again before end of February to discuss resources and ideas to develop community engagement in a successful long-term strategy.


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Events

Mature trees – pillars of biodiversity

What: Mature trees are a biological keystone in the ecosystem. Several local environment groups are nominating “Loss of Native Hollow-bearing Trees” as a threatening process and discussion of this nomination will be part of the event.

When: Tuesday 28 February, 12noon-2pm starts with ploughman’s lunch (no gender-neutral term available for this specific dish)

Where: Renewables Innovation Hub, 19-23 Moore Street, Turner ACT 2602

Register: Conservation Council website No charge but donations welcome to help cover lunch costs

Volunteer: if you’re available to help set up and clean up. Contact [email protected]


Assembly sitting times

What: Expanded Legislative Assembly will settle into its first full year of work with thirteen sitting weeks, two weeks of Budget Estimates (16-30 June) and four weeks of Annual Report hearings – two weeks on 2015-16 reports (27 February-10 March) held over from 2016 due to the election and two weeks for 2016-17 reports (6-17 November).

Where: ACT Legislative Assembly, 196 London Circuit, Canberra ACT 2601 or watch online live or replays.


Have your say on Draft Lower Cotter Catchment Reserve Management Plan

The ACT Government is inviting comment on a draft reserve management plan for the Lower Cotter Catchment.

The plan was prepared under the ACT Nature Conservation Act 2014, which requires management plans for all public land reserve areas, and released for public comment 16 January with a closing date for submissions 10 March 2017.

The plan is at www.yoursay.act.gov.au or follow these links:

Personal and organisational comments are welcome through visiting the website or by email: [email protected] or even post: Manager, Conservation Planning, Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, PO Box 158, Canberra ACT 2601

There is also a Lower Cotter Catchment public information session:

When: Wednesday 15 February 2017 05:00 pm–07:00 pm

Where: was ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre, 245 Lady Denman Drive, Yarramundi Reach, ACT now Function Room, Ground Floor, North Building, Dame Pattie Menzies House, 16 Challis Street, Dickson

Please RSVP to: [email protected]


Pedal Power ACT 2017 AGM

strong>When: Tuesday 21 March 2017 7:30 to 8:30pm.

Where: Southern Cross Club, Woden

What: election of board and presentation of annual Pedal Power ACT awards

Awards:

  • Paul Truebridge Memorial Volunteer of the Year award
  • Event of the Year award
  • Annemarie Driver Memorial Leadership award
  • Several service and recognition awards.

Agenda: can be downloaded and viewed here and contains agenda for AGM, details of those standing for election to Board, minutes of last AGM, and proxy and voting forms.

Pedal Power ACT annual report and financial statement for 2017 will be available prior to the meeting from the Pedal Power ACT website. Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting 2016 available here.


Low interest rates, no fossil fuels, help Conservation Council

What: Conservation Council has partnership arrangement with Bank Australia where people can nominate us as they take out or transfer a loan and Conservation Council ACT receives one-off payment of 0.40% of loan value.

Who: Bank Australia does not invest in fossil fuels and is good way to move away from supporting fossil fuels. Bank Australia began in 1957 as CSIRO Co-operative Credit Society then became Members and Education Credit Union (mecu) then bankmecu then Bank Australia.

How much: Bank Australia fees and rates are lower given they are a member-owned bank. There is no money cost to you to move your home loan, just some of your time.

Contact: Executive Director, Larry O’Loughlin, for more details and to put you in touch with the bank. He has made the switch.


“What is the Ginninderra Falls all about?”

When: Tuesday February 28, 2017, 5:30pm – 7pm

Where: Cook Community Hub 41, Templeton St., Cook

Who: Panel discussion with speakers:

  • Wally Bell
  • David Wong
  • Doug Finlayson
  • Dr Bryan Pratt

For more information: http://ginninderra.org.au/


See our Facebook events for more environment-related events in the ACT region

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Environment Exchange 2017

Environment Exchanges in 2017!

Be part of an inspiring environment network as we explore a different theme each month. Hear from fascinating guest speakers and engage in open and lively discussion on topics in sustainability and environment. Visit our events page to peruse the line up or download and share our lovely flyer (below).

This series includes sessions on mature trees, climate change, renewable energy, waste reduction and sustainable town planning.

  • 28 February: Pillars of Biodiversity: matures trees in the landscape – EVENT HELD. See Bush Capital Blog for more information
  • 28 March: Using Nature for Power: how soon to a 100% renewable energy future – EVENT HELD. For a report and presentations see Bush Capital Blog
  • 18 April: Climate Change: getting to zero net emissions – EVENT HELD
  • 23 May: Overcoming the Growing Pains: building a sustainable compact city – EVENT HELD. For a report on the event see Bush Capital Blog
  • 27 June: Reducing Canberra’s Waste Mountain: minimising our consumption – EVENT HELD. See Bush Capital Blog for more information

And donations are appreciated to help cover costs

See or download our flyer for the first five Environment Exchanges for 2017

   

Joy Burch speaks on Foy proposal and resident follow up letter

Joy Burch Adjournment debate
Ms Joy Burch, MLA for Brindabella (Labor), 15 February 2017

Hello Joy,

I was very heartened to see you speak in the Assembly Wednesday 15 February 2017 expressing your concerns with the FOY proposal in Hume. I’m not sure how much you and your staff already know about the proposal, but apart from the health and safety concerns, there are several relevant facts that are not being mentioned anywhere “inside” the process. They are politically sensitive and need to become public.

  • All of the “non-recyclable” plastic they want to convert into fuel is, in fact, recyclable. See here.
  • The proponents plan to import at least 73,000 tonnes of potentially contaminated plastic into the ACT by truck each year from QLD, VIC and NSW to feed their refinery. One has to ask why we are their dumping ground?
  • This one facility seriously damages the ACT government’s credibility on its 2020 GHG emission targets – so: why is the Government bothering to set them?
  • The GHG emissions from this proposal completely undo the contribution made by ALL of the ACT’s solar panels (industrial and domestic).
  • No ACT waste will actually be diverted from landfill. According to an ACT Government waste report, we only produce around 4,000 tonnes of waste plastic a year so it’s not economically viable for the company to set up a recovery facility to use our small amount of plastic in the refinery. One has to ask: if you’re going to do this, why set it up hundreds of kilometres from the waste?
  • The NSW EPA has denied the company permission to do exactly this plastic-to-fuel conversion in NSW on safety and environmental grounds. We assume the Planning Minister is well apprised of its reasons and has done extensive research to disprove the NSW EPA’s objections, otherwise, he should not be entertaining the proposal.
  • FOY has been suspended from trading on the ASX since mid-2015.  One of the ASX’s conditions for them to re-list is approval to convert plastic-to-fuel at Berkeley Vale once the acquisition of that facility goes through. The NSW EPA has denied them doing so, hence they are jurisdiction shopping looking for a planning environment that will allow an experimental facility to go ahead.
  • The companies (FOY and IGE, the owners of Berkeley Vale) have never done this before. Their facility at Berkeley Vale has never processed plastic to fuel.  All of their “data” is based on assumptions; not evidence.

We believe the first dot point above is sufficient reason to stop this proposal now. Unfortunately, most of the above came to light after we suggested the Inquiry Panel to Minister Gentleman (you can see a copy of the letter on www.nopowerstation.com).

Worryingly, the Government’s approach to the Inquiry Panel looks like it is being set up to deliver a pre-determined outcome: ie.

  • The ToR are unnecessarily narrow and needlessly restrict consideration of the proposal, in particular, there is no debate on the first, pivotal dot-point above. We have provided comments to Minister Gentleman’s office but I have not yet seen the final ToR.
  • The timings for the consultation look like they are designed to minimise attendance.
    • The Public Hearing is during Business Hours.  The drop-In session admittedly extends to 6.00 pm albeit on a Monday.
    • Given the level of public interest, would it not have been politic to arrange a Saturday or Sunday session?
  • Both sessions are in Tuggeranong.  Is someone trying to suggest this is a NIMBY issue? It’s not – it affects the ACT’s GHG targets, not Tuggeranong’s.  Mawson is equidistant; Woden not much further.  Why not have a session there – or, better still, outside the Legislative Assembly Building during business hours?
  • Only those who made submissions on the original EIS are being invited to attend the Public Hearing.  The information in my first five dot points all came to light after the submissions closed, so it seems anyone who now wants to contribute cannot.  This seems petty and arbitrary.

As you mentioned in your address on Wednesday, we should keep an open mind about proposals such as this, however, a lot of your constituents still do not know about the proposal.  It’s happening near where they work and live and it looks, from every angle, like a bad idea.  We request you stand up for the people of your electorate and become a voice opposing this proposal.

If I can provide additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.  We would be happy to meet in person as well.

Regards,

CPR Inc

[Since receiving the letter Ms Burch has responded saying she will follow up the information and offering times to meet at a mobile office.]