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'Don't waste New Chum'

SPEAKING OUT: Mitch Dodrill is unhappy the Transpacific New Chum landfill is being expanded.
SPEAKING OUT: Mitch Dodrill is unhappy the Transpacific New Chum landfill is being expanded. David Nielsen

PAUL Pisasale's long-time loyal lieutenant Mitch Dodrill has stepped out of the shadows to denounce the man he has championed for many years.

Mr Dodrill, who the mayor calls his campaign co-ordinator, says he has been stung into action by the mayor's conduct over the waste dump at New Chum.

Mr Dodrill's son Jim is the president of Ipswich Residents Against Toxic Environments (IRATE), the group formed to oppose the expansion of the New Chum dump by Transpacific Industries.

But he stayed in the background until last week's court ruling that allowed Transpacific to keep dumping unlimited waste at New Chum.

He was outraged that the council argued the dump was limited to 50,000 tonnes a year and had not tried to stop the expansion or impose controls over what is dumped there.

"I've spent the past 14 years working tirelessly with Paul Pisasale for no financial gain for one reason - to improve the image of Ipswich," Mr Dodrill said.

"The last thing I want to do is come into conflict with Paul but it's too big an issue. It's not something that's going to go away. It's going to get worse."

He said with nine grandchildren living nearby in Collingwood Park and his son not far from the dump, it was time for him to act.

"It came to the stage where I had to stand up," he said.

"If they [the council] were to refuse to extend the area they can dump in they can stop it in their tracks.

"They can also refuse on the basis they haven't complied with the conditions until now.

"They can stop them tomorrow."

The mayor seemed confused by Mr Dodrill's attack, saying Mr Dodrill had not raised concerns with him.

He also said he did not support taking the case to the Planning and Environment Court.

"I hate the conflict. I hate what's happened with the dump and I feel Mitch Dodrill has gone to the media once again; he's never told me that," Cr Pisasale said.

"In my 20 years of politics I've never had a group who the council is supporting so strongly then turn around and blame us for not standing up for them.

"I've supported the community; that's my job. The difference is we have to follow the law. Everybody, including the company, has the right to a proper hearing.

"As long as they comply with all the environmental standards, and all the buffer zones are put in place, my job is to make sure that gets finalised as quickly as possible so the community and the dump and everybody can get on hand in hand.

"I've always said I'm against the expansion; that's why we want conditions on it.

"That's why I wanted it to go through our planning department rather than the courts so we could see through all those conditions; I want to know exactly what's going into the dump."

Transpacific, meanwhile, said it could not understand the council arguing the dump's limit was 50,000 tonnes a year.

A company spokeswoman said the council alone dumped more than 66,000 tonnes of waste to the New Chum site last year.

"The decision by the Planning and Environment Court confirms volumes currently accepted at Transpacific's New Chum site are in line with the Ipswich City Council consent permit issued in 1999," the spokeswoman said.

"The New Chum site is an engineered landfill, licensed and regulated by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection [DEHP] to accept commercial and industrial waste in fully lined cells.

"The site has been operating since 1998 and is within a zoned industrial precinct on the site of a former coal mine.

"The New Chum site abides by all requirements imposed by DEHP, with a considerable green buffer zone to the nearest residential areas."

The spokeswoman said materials accepted and stored on site were publicly displayed on a sign at the facility's gate.

The site was licensed to accept limited regulated waste and asbestos, and these materials were correctly disposed of in designated cells in accordance with DEHP requirements, she said.

"Transpacific is committed to the long-term use and rehabilitation of the site and will continue working closely with Ipswich City Council to ensure the best outcome for the local community."

Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) Minister Andrew Powell recently met with representatives of IRATE.

Mr Powell said he understood the group's concerns and said the council would have a final say on the dump's expansion, but not its current operation.

"EHP provides advice to local governments on applications such as these, and in this case the final decision for both new applications rests with Ipswich City Council," he said.

Public Meeting

  • In the lead-up to the Ipswich City Council elections, the dump site at New Chum was the scene of protests against the company's operation.
  • A public meeting to discuss the dump will be held at Collingwood Park State School from 2pm on November 24.

Topics:  mitch dodrill, new chum dump, paul pisasale, toxic


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