In Parliament yesterday, Liberal Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, sought action from the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio on what progress has been made by the Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce, appointment by the government, on C & D Recycling at 300-400 Broderick Road, Lara, following a VCAT enforcement order issued on 1 June 2018.
“Unfortunately the matter seems to have reached a critical point as the Australian Taxation Office is taking C & D Recycling to court on outstanding debts owed,” Mr Ramsay said.
Back in August 2016 VCAT directed the City of Greater Geelong to issue a planning permit to C & D Recycling for the ongoing use and development of the recycling site at Broderick Road, Lara, even though the City of Greater Geelong voiced its opposition to the granting of the permit.
Lack of compliance and regular concerns raised by the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Environment Protection Authority (EPA) relating to the site in general, volume of waste being stockpiled and the risk of the material catching fire, including the state government’s Interagency Stockpile Taskforce identification of the site earlier this year as a ‘very high risk location’, has had little if no effect on progress.
Instead VCAT issued an enforcement order on 1 June 2018 requiring the operator and site owner to work with the EPA, CFA and the City of Greater Geelong over a four-month period to secure and improve safety through the procurement and implementation of a number of staged plans.
“We do not want a repeat of the 2017 Coolaroo recycling plant fire, which took a full 20 days to extinguish and forced a number of people to evacuate and, in some cases, seek medical attention,” Mr Ramsay said.
The Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce, which was appointed by the government, needs to take control of the situation urgently.
The site today remains a major hazard, not only affecting not only the Lara community and local schools but also the many businesses around the area that are subjected to rising dust from the materials on site and the potential of fire.
Warmer weather is on its way, so do we have a repeat of the Coolaroo incident or be proactive and get the taskforce to do the work needed to implement a safe environment for the locals?