The Queensland Greens today backed a petition calling on the Queensland Government to take action to combat the noxious air pollution impacting residents throughout the Ipswich region.
The Ipswich community has been suffering from harmful effects of the waste industry for many years, with recurring instances of waste operations being shown to be non-compliant with their environmental authorities. Despite the Government establishing the Odour Abatement Taskforce, the stench emanating from New Chum and Swanbank has continued to worsen, and with it the health impacts on local residents.
Greens State MP Michael Berkman said:
“The Queensland Government has had years to act on the stench and serious health impacts caused by air pollution from waste sites in Ipswich.
“It’s well past time the Government respected the Ipswich community and undertook the sweeping action necessary to protect the health and safety of the increasing number of residents that call the Ipswich area home.”
Danielle Mutton, Ipswich Lockyer Greens Branch Spokesperson said:
“It’s time the Government stopped the stink of the waste industry with an urgent panel of inquiry into this public health disaster. Our petition establishes clear and practical actions that the Government could immediately implement to protect residents living in the Ipswich region.
“It is cruel and callous to continue to ignore the suffering of residents, who have experienced years of adverse health effects and are regularly confined to their homes. Sadly, this is not a surprising stance for the State Government to take, with the Labor Party spending more time listening to their donors in the waste industry than regular Queenslanders.
“This is not just an Ipswich problem, this is a state problem. Forty-two percent of Queensland’s waste and fifty-five percent of South-East Queensland’s waste ends up with private waste operators in the Ipswich region. It’s a heavy burden to put on the shoulders of residents in nearby suburbs - suburbs which are rapidly growing to provide desperately needed affordable housing.
“I urge Queenslanders to stand with the people of Ipswich and demand the State Government take action to rectify this toxic situation.”
The petition calls on the Queensland Government do the following to protect the health and safety of residents in the Ipswich region by bringing about:
- The declaration of an environmental health event in relation to air pollution created by the waste industry
- The establishment of a panel of inquiry into the health impacts of the waste industry on residents
- The immediate cessation of operations where non-compliance is shown
- Have the regulator direct compost and mulching operations to enclose their facility
- The State Government to direct Cleanaway at their New Chum landfill site to permanently close Cell 3B and commence rehabilitation
- Department of Environment and Science (DES) and the Odour Abatement Taskforce (OAT) to conduct proactive enforcement and compliance activities for waste operations
- Quarterly public community meetings to be held by OAT and the regulator DES
- The establishment of air quality stations in suburbs where odour complaints have been lodged with the OAT.
Michael Berkman’s letter to the Health Minister from June 2022 is available here.