OPINION: Drop the jobs angle from dumps debate

I REFER to the story "Council Clash Over Concerns" (QT, 11/9) about Ipswich City Council's August 26 letters to landfill companies.

Four companies, Cleanaway, BMI, Lantrak and Bio-Recycle received a letter asking them to justify their applications at a time when state policy is shifting to waste reduction and recycling over landfilling.

Bio-Recycle is the latest company to propose a 70ha landfill in the Jeebropilly, Willowbank and Ebenezer Waste Activity Area.

WRIQ CEO Rick Ralph calls the information requests unprecedented. So are the number of dumps and dump applications in Ipswich.

He says the information requests "undermine the State Government's Resource Recovery Industry Development Program". How? The council is talking about dumps. More dumps will hinder recycling efforts. So will incinerators.

Mr Ralph claims 428 jobs depend on the waste industry in Ipswich, but landfills are not big employers. Cleanaway employs 28 people at its 70ha landfill. Again, the council talks about dumps, not other waste-related operations.

We hear how Ipswich needs the waste industry for jobs. On January 22 this year, the Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard was quoted as saying "around one in every 165 jobs in Ipswich" is in the waste industry. That represents just 0.6 per cent.

It also means the other 99.4 per cent is not in the waste industry. How many jobs in transport and manufacturing will there be in Redbank Motorway Estate once fully developed?

It's time to drop the jobs angle from the dump debate.

It is also time to note the actions of New Hope Coal. Under its mining lease, it has an obligation to rehabilitate its Jeebropilly mine upon cessation of mining operations at the end of the year. But it intends to leave a monstrous pit and its rehabilitation obligations to dump company Lantrak.

The Jeebropilly mine is not a 1980s legacy issue under previous permissive legislation. Instead of aiding and abetting this travesty with a second "Waste Activity Area" in Willowbank, Jeebropilly and Ebenezer, the council and the Queensland Government should require New Hope Coal to restore the land.

Because dumping is not "rehabilitation".

GEOFF YARHAM

Secretary, Ipswich Residents Against Toxic Environments (IRATE)



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