Soorley backs off Rochedale dump ban

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Soorley backs off Rochedale dump ban

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — Lord Mayor Jim Soorley has refused to carry through a Labor Party pledge to stop the controversial Rochedale waste dump, made during the campaign for the Brisbane City Council election in March.

Following legal opinion from five barristers that the previous Liberal council's $564 million contract with Pacific Waste Management was watertight, Soorley said the new ALP-controlled administration would not break the contract.

The legal advice was reportedly that the council could face a compensation claim of $40-80 million if it broke the agreement with Waste Management.

The Southside Action Group, which led the struggle against the dump — a campaign that played a key role in the defeat of Sally-Anne Atkinson's Liberals — has requested a Supreme Court injunction restraining the company from constructing the landfill at Rochedale.

Opponents of the dump have called on the state government to use its powers to halt the dump, but local government minister Tom Burns ruled out intervention.

The Goss Labor government has the power to stop the dump without incurring a massive compensation payout, because permission must be granted by the Health Department and other authorities for various aspects of the Rochedale operation.