The Queensland Government has exercised its powers to regulate development applications in Ipswich.
The decision comes in the wake of Queensland waste company Austin BMI’s new landfill proposal and follows the Opposition’s motion for the state government to “call in” the application.
The proposal, which was met with some community opposition, would see a former disused coal mine at New Chum converted into a new landfill and waste transfer station. The landfill would initially process 650,000 tonnes of construction and demolition (C&D) waste each year, rising to more than a million tonnes a year over the 18 to 20-year life of the site. Ipswich City Council is the assessment agency for the BMI Group’s application.
Planning Minister Cameron Dick issued a notice to Ipswich City Council advising of the intention to make a Temporary Local Planning Instrument (TLPI) to suspend part of their Planning Scheme, affecting new or expanded waste facilities in the Swanbank and New Chum industrial area.
April 7 update:
Requirements for new buffer zones and other safeguards are now in place for residents living near new or expanded waste facilities in the Swanbank and New Chum industrial area.
Mr Dick said that following consideration of council’s comments, he has made the TLPI, which will take effect for two years from 6 April 2018.
“The TLPI will apply to applications for new or expanded waste activities, as identified within the Swanbank/New Chum waste activity area map, to ensure this regionally significant economic area appropriately protects existing, approved or planned sensitive land uses from adverse impacts associated with waste activities.
“While the TLPI is in place, my department will continue to work with council to progress any amendments to its planning scheme.”
In making the announcement last week, Mr Dick said that council has the ability under the Planning Act to amend its planning scheme or to make a TLPI.
“The Planning Minister also has the power to introduce a TLPI.
“By making a Ministerial TLPI under the Planning Act, protections for the surrounding residents can be introduced urgently.
“Accordingly, under section 27(2) of the Planning Act, I have provided notice to the council that I intend to make a TLPI.”
Mr Dick said this is the first time that these reserve powers have ever been used by a Queensland Planning Minister.
“Council have been working with my department as they consider potential changes to their planning scheme to address this issue, and I believe that this TLPI is consistent with their intentions,” he said.
“I also expect that council will give consideration to the TLPI when considering current development applications.”
Last week, Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said council officers were working vigorously with the Minister’s department to suggest ways to lessen the impact waste facilities have on people in neighbouring areas.
“I personally spoke with the Minister during a recent visit to Ipswich, and I am very pleased that he has listened to what I had to say on behalf of our residents,” Mayor Antoniolli said.
“I stressed upon him the urgency of these matters and the prospect of future applications, and I am thankful for his involvement and swift action.”
Mr Dick said the TLPI will suspend elements of the planning scheme and establishes new assessment criteria for new or expanded waste facilities.
“The TLPI introduces a new buffer of 750 metres from existing, approved or planned residential areas where landfill activities will not be supported,” he said.
“The TLPI does not support new or expansions to existing compost manufacturing that is open to the air, anywhere in the Swanbank/New Chum industrial area.”
Mr Dick said during the two-year period, his department will work with council to assist them to progress any amendments to its planning scheme to address the “concerns of the community”.