Dump decision outrages Werribee residents

May 6, 1998

By Ben Reid

MELBOURNE — The decision by Victoria's planning minister, Robert Maclellan, to allow a CSR toxic waste dump in suburban Werribee has outraged opponents of the dump. The Werribee Residents Against Toxic Dumps (WRATD) have vowed to fight the decision.

"The government is clearly supporting the development of cheap toxic waste dumping in Victoria. Not only is it placing a gigantic toxic dump in Werribee, it is also permitting the dumping of contaminated soil in Niddrie and a large extension of the Tullamarine dump. Dumping toxic materials in Victoria is half the cost of dumping them in NSW", WRATD spokesperson Joanne Ryan said.

The state government's approval means that the dump only needs the approval of the local council. Under state planning laws, the council's decision can be overruled by the state government.

CSR has been seeking approval for the dump since 1996. The dump site is less than one kilometre from housing. It is adjacent to areas that provide two-thirds of Melbourne's vegetables.

The WRATD are calling for an overall reduction in waste production as an alternative to the dump, and argue that landfill is an inappropriate means of storing toxic substances. They have organised a number of demonstrations and public actions opposing the dump.

On the day of the Werribee decision, the state government's Environment Protection Agency released its strategy for toxic waste. The EPA's report, "Zeroing in on Waste", calls for a reduction in toxic waste production and states that landfill is the "least preferred management option for solid prescribed wastes".

Harry van Moorst from WRATD condemned the government for ignoring of its own agency's advice. He called on the EPA "to develop adequate regulations to give strength to the policy". The WRATD are calling for the EPA to disallow the dump, and are running a campaign against the government in marginal seats. A public meeting is scheduled for May 4 at 7.30pm at Werribee Racecourse.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.