Long-time former Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller resigned in February. Picture: Annette Dew
Long-time former Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller resigned in February. Picture: Annette Dew

Miller: incinerator issues could bring me back to politics

FORMER Bundamba MP and long-time thorn in the side of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's Government Jo-Ann Miller said issues with a proposed waste-to-energy plant could bring her out of retirement.

Waste company Remondis lodged an application with Queensland's Coordinator-General for State Government consideration in December 2018.

More than 18 months on, a decision has yet to be reached.

It is understood a decision could be announced this week.

If the Coordinator-General declares it as a co-ordinated project it would assist in streamlining approvals and fast-track delivery of the $400 million project.

It will still need to go to Ipswich City Council for approval.

Ipswich Residents Against Toxic Environments secretary Geoff Yarham said the group had been in regular communication with the office of the Coordinator-General.

They last emailed a week-and-a-half ago requesting an update but had yet to receive a response.

IRATE has probed Ipswich's four state MPs, Jennifer Howard, Jim Madden, Charis Mullen and Lance McCallum, over whether they support such a proposal.

The four Ipswich MPs responded with a joint letter.

"First and foremost, we do not support EfW (energy from waste) over reduction, reuse and recycling of waste," it read.

Queensland’s Coordinator-General has yet to make a decision on the proposed waste-to-energy plant for Swanbank after 18 months.
Queensland’s Coordinator-General has yet to make a decision on the proposed waste-to-energy plant for Swanbank after 18 months.

"In addition, we do not support EfW - or any waste activity for that matter- that harms the environment.

"We have not seen a detailed EfW proposal by Remondis or any other proponent.

"That said, we are aware of the concerns that have been raised around EfW and acknowledge that it is new to Queensland.

"We will not support any new waste projects, including EfW projects, that encourage greater use of waste, discouraging reuse and recycling or have any negative impacts on the environment."

Mr Yarham said the letter avoided answering whether they supported the project.

"I think the four local MPs and their response that has been provided to IRATE are ducking for cover," he said.

"I would suggest this is a very hot topic for the October election. It will create issues for our four local MPs.

"I'm certain that the people of Ipswich don't want it."

Mr McCallum said there needs to be a "comprehensive consultation process" around to proposal to find out what the majority of his electorate thinks of the project.

"It's clear that there are some people in the community that have concerns which is totally understandable," he said.

"This is a totally new technology and practice, not just in Queensland but in Australia.

"I think there's a very long road to go before it could be said that any proposal would stack up."

Labor MP Lance McCallum was victorious in the Bundamba by-election earlier this year.
Labor MP Lance McCallum was victorious in the Bundamba by-election earlier this year.

Mrs Miller was a staunch opponent of the project set for Swanbank when it was announced.

"I will never support incinerators or dumps in Ipswich," she said.

"Ipswich is a modern city tracking to a good future with the new council in place.

"The members of parliament, both state and federal, need to get off the barb wire fence and they need to say yes or no whether they support incinerators or dumps."

The former rebel MP, who resigned after 20 years in parliament in February, criticised the "wishy-washy" response by the four local representatives.

After flirting with a run for Ipswich mayor in the March election, Mrs Miller chose to give up politics entirely.

"This is one issue that would bring me out of retirement," she said.

"The people of Ipswich need to vote to save their own health, to save their own way of life and to save the environment in the October election.

"I have spoken to people who live near incinerators and they've said it has a negative impact on their health. Also, the numbers of truck movements are just shocking.

"Ipswich should not be the dumping ground of Australia.

"Just because we are working class people, just because we had coal mines in our city does not mean we deserve to have the waste dumped in our city and burnt in our city."



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