Mayor wants waste company to be fined millions
IPSWICH Mayor Teresa Harding said she hoped the State Government would throw the full weight of the law at waste company Cleanaway and fine them millions of dollars following a recent blaze at their New Chum site.
The company has been ordered to conduct an independent investigation into its current stockpile and fire management processes, while Ipswich City Council carried out a fresh audit at the site this week.
Cr Harding said the stockpiled waste in the Resource Recovery Area at the site is supposed to be covered in a bid to reduce the risk of fire.
“The State Government has to make sure that Cleanaway and all the waste operators adhere to the environmental compliance guidelines,” she said.
“Certainly, we can see that they haven’t been.”
A 900sqm fire broke out at the New Chum landfill site on Sunday evening, sending thick smoke through the city.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said it was “completely unacceptable.”
There is no legal instrument available to council to sanction Cleanaway.
“They are taking waste in from New South Wales and council can’t stop them,” she said.
“They’ve taken hundreds of trucks of waste from New South Wales and they say we’re going to sort through that and we’ll let you know how much we’ve recycled.
“Until they actually sort that and do that, they don’t pay a waste levy, which is $75 a tonne.”
She believes Cleanaway should be fined what the extra RRA is worth in revenue for the company, which has been estimated to be around $65 million.
“At a minimum to me, Cleanaway should be at least fined what they would have had if it went through the normal waste levy process,” she said.
“So, that fine to me should be at least the minimum for the waste levy, then you look at the other fines for compliance.
“This new council won’t put up with it. It’s not good enough.”