Protesters will gather in hoards on the weekend, rallying against the proposed Swanbank incinerator.
Protesters will gather in hoards on the weekend, rallying against the proposed Swanbank incinerator. Navarone Farrell

Minister fails to support Ipswich's $400m incinerator

QUEENSLAND'S environment minister has failed to publicly declare that a controversial waste-to-energy plant proposed at Swanbank will benefit Ipswich.

Waste-to-energy company Remondis has lodged a request with the State Government's Coordinator-General to have its $400m incinerator declared a coordinated project.

The project has drawn the ire of residents concerned about the environmental effects such a project would have.

Those concerns led key stakeholders to declare the project must stack up against strict environmental conditions.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch has failed to explain if and how an incinerator would benefit Ipswich.

Ms Enoch visited Springfield yesterday, on the first day of the state's waste levy, to promote the government's plan to reduce rubbish.

She said the state's goal to reduce waste hinged on doubling the amount of recycling to 90 per cent by 2050.

When asked how Ipswich's proposed incinerator sat in the state's waste reduction plans Ms Enoch said it was not high.

"There is a bit of a hierarchy around waste management," she said.

"The burning of waste is quite low down in the hierarchy.

"You've got landfill and the one before that is incineration."

Ms Enoch said extracting value out of items was key before they were sent to burn or be dumped at landfill.

She was elusive when directly asked by the QT; do you think an incinerator will benefit Ipswich?

"For me, I think what will benefit every community is if we are redirecting waste away from landfill and are creating jobs," she responded.

"The container refund scheme helps us do that, goes some way in doing that.

"We've seen more than 640 brand new jobs created as a result of that scheme.

"It's very clear that Queenslanders and people in Ipswich are really passionate about recycling.

"That's where I think there's the greatest opportunity."

 

The $400m waste-to-energy plant proposed by Remondis at Springfield.
The $400m waste-to-energy plant proposed by Remondis at Springfield. Navarone Farrell

Ms Enoch's lack of support for Remondis' waste-to-energy project is in addition to the reservations of Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden, who has previously said he is yet to be convinced of its merits.

Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller has already declared her strong opposition to the proposal.

Ms Enoch said the state needed to "extract all the value we can out of those (waste) items" before they are burned or landfilled.

"If we extract the value we get the economic opportunity," she said.

"There's actual value in those things and if you extract the value you get more jobs."

Ms Enoch said for every 10,000 tonnes of waste sent to landfill three jobs were created.

She said nine jobs were created for every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled.

"Ultimately we want to see the use of items over and over again so that we can create economic uplift and economic opportunity," she said.

Ms Enoch acknowledged a "small percentage" of waste would be down the bottom end of the hierarchy, where it could be landfilled or burned.

Minister for State Development Cameron Dick has previously welcomed the Remondis' plans and said it would establish Queensland as a major player in the waste-to-energy market.

"The proposed plant will convert between 300,000 and 500,000 tonnes of waste per year to generate up to 50 megawatts of baseload electricity for Queensland households and businesses," he said at the project announcement.

"This project could create up to 200 jobs during construction and some 70 jobs during operations." A project timeline has not been revealed.



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