Tanya Davies MP. Member for Mulgoa.


Tuesday May 1, 2018

Ms TANYA DAVIES ( MulgoaMinister for Mental Health, Minister for Women, and Minister for Ageing) (19:36): Last month I welcomed a recommendation from the Department of Planning to refuse a development proposal by Ian Malouf to build the world's largest incinerator at Eastern Creek. From day one I have wholeheartedly opposed the incinerator at Eastern Creek, especially when I repeatedly questioned the representative of Mr Malouf in my office about the purpose of the two 100-metre smoke stacks that were clearly visible in their project illustrations. When he was unable to answer a basic question that I asked of him five times—"What will be emitted from these smoke stacks?"—I had serious cause for alarm.

I have talked to many residents in the community and leaders of organisations, schools and sporting clubs and it is clear that the incinerator is not welcome here. There are serious health concerns associated with burning thousands of tonnes of waste so close to homes and schools in Erskine Park, St Clair and beyond. The proponent is incapable of guaranteeing that the type of feedstock that he proposes to feed the incinerator will meet with policy. In any case, the evidence is out that nanoparticles emitted from this type of incineration process cannot be traced by the current monitoring systems available.

The nanoparticles cannot be identified and measured and therefore cannot be monitored to ensure the community's health is not severely impacted. The proponent has also failed to adhere to the New South Wales Government's Energy from Waste policy, which I will speak about shortly. The concerns raised by our community, the Environmental Protection Authority, NSW Health and local councils have not been addressed by the proponent in the planning proposal. The evidence is in and the verdict is clear: the proposed incinerator at Eastern Creek should not go ahead.

I thank the member for Penrith, Stuart Ayres, the Premier and my other parliamentary colleagues who have stood alongside me and backed my position in fighting this proposal. I congratulate the Department of Planning on recommending that the incinerator proposal be refused by the Independent Planning Commission, as it is inconsistent with government policy and does not meet regulatory standards. The Independent Planning Commission will spend the next three months investigating this proposal before making a final determination. We have ensured that a proper, independent assessment process has been undertaken to ensure that the science, the experts in their fields, and facts are used to formulate the recommendations. I will quote the irrefutable findings of the Department of Planning's assessment report to demonstrate how the independent scientific assessment process has delivered the result that we now have, that is, to recommend refusal of the application. Page number (vi) of the assessment report says:

Due to the nature and technical complexity of the proposal, the Department and the EPA jointly engaged Environmental Risk Sciences Pty Ltd (EnRisks), an independent expert in the field of human health risk assessment (HHRA), and ARUP Pty Ltd, an expert in international best practice waste to energy engineering, to assist in the assessment of the proposal. These experts were engaged in 2014 at the onset of the assessment process, prior to lodgement of the Applicant's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Department sought their expert advice throughout the assessment, particularly with respect to the consistency of the proposal with the requirements of the EfW Policy and the robustness of the Applicant's HHRA. Throughout the assessment process, the experts have raised significant concerns regarding the rigour of the Applicant's assessment of these matters.

The experts have formally reviewed the application three times and have met with the applicant and its consultants on two occasions. Despite two significant amendments to the proposal, Arup maintains its view the proposed development is inconsistent with the energy from waste policy. EnRisks advises it is not possible to be confident the human health risk assessment is appropriate and sufficiently conservative and therefore the risk to human health is unknown.

Further, on page VIII-IX it states:

One key requirement of the energy from waste policy is for energy recovery facilities to use proven technologies that are well understood and capable of handling the expected variability and type of waste feedstock. This must be demonstrated through reference to fully operational plants using the same technologies and treating like waste streams in other similar jurisdictions. This is known as a "reference facility". Based on the advice from the Environment Protection Authority and Arup, the applicant's nominated reference facility, Ferrybridge Multifuel 1 in West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom, is not an appropriate reference facility as it is not thermally treating the same types of wastes as the proposed development.

Without reference to a fully operational facility thermally treating the same waste feedstock, there is no certainty regarding the concentration and mix of pollutants in the emissions. As such, the air quality impacts and health risk estimates are unknown.

Furthermore, the applicant has not adequately demonstrated how wastes that have the potential to generate harmful toxins will be excluded from the waste stream. The applicant also proposes to include potentially hazardous wastes as part of the design fuel, which are not permitted to be used for energy recovery under the energy from waste policy.

These extracts from the Department of Planning and Environment's assessment report highlight the health dangers of this proposal and the unscrupulous actions of Ian Malouf to push a business proposal that contravenes numerous government policy directives. I stand with my community and will be at Rooty Hill RSL on Monday 14 May at 11.00 a.m. when the Independent Planning Commission will hold a public hearing. I encourage all members of the community to join me and to oppose this proposal until the incinerator at Eastern Creek is killed off once and for all.