Friday 10 July 2020
Labor tears up environmental protections to pave the way for West Gate Tunnel toxic soil dumping
The Andrews Labor Government has made a gift of hundreds of millions of dollars, that would otherwise be payable in landfill levies by the West Gate Tunnel's builders.
Toxic PFAS contaminated tunnel soil has also been exempted from the protections provided by the Environment Protection Act 1970 to permit the dumping of West Gate Tunnel soil.
The only protection that will remain is the requirement for an approved environment management plan, which the Andrews Labor Government clearly intends to waive through. Most will be kept secret by special exemptions for so-called commercially sensitive information.
Community consultation has been ditched. The special regulations make no mention of any requirement for community consultation or consultation with affected councils.
Daniel Andrews has arrogantly suspended rights of appeal to VCAT leaving local communities with few legal avenues. He has stripped away basic democratic rights.
The extraordinary regulations will allow the transport, receiving, processing and dumping of PFAS contaminated toxic tunnel boring machine soil from the West Gate Tunnel just 200 metres from “any building that is a sensitive land use, including a residential dwelling, a health service, a child care centre or an education centre”.
This effectively gives the Government and its Transurban mates the ability to process and dump toxic PFAS contaminated soil close to child care, schools, houses and health services at will. It gives the green light to dumping at Bacchus Marsh, Bulla and Ravenhall as Daniel Andrews sees fit with virtually no checks and balances and no community consultation whatsoever.
The new requirements are so weak as to render the Environment Protection Act meaningless, a special deal to allow Daniel Andrews’ mates to pollute virtually unchecked.
Comment attributable to the Shadow Minister for Transport Infrastructure, David Davis:
“In a sneaky move, these regulations have been sprung on the community who have been treated with disdain by Labor.”
Comment attributable to the Shadow Minister for Environment, Bridget Vallence:
“This is proof Daniel Andrews doesn’t care about Victoria’s environment. He cares more about his big corporate mates, giving them a free ride to dump toxic soil, rather than protecting our environment and keeping communities safe.”
Comment attributable to Member for Western Metropolitan Region, Bernie Finn:
“The health of people in Melbourne’s West is potentially being sacrificed by the Andrews Government. This move is the latest in a long line that shows Daniel Andrews doesn’t care about local families.”
Comment attributable to Member for Western Victoria Region, Beverley McArthur:
“The Bacchus Marsh community who have fought hard to protect homes, schools and agriculture from the dumping of contaminated toxic soil from the Westgate Tunnel Project into the Maddingley site, have every right to be furious.”