Western Sydney close to winning against waste incinerator plan

Community protest outside NSW Parliament on April 10.

After a long battle, the residents of Western Sydney were relieved to hear on April 11 that the Department of Planning recommended it should not go ahead.

“This is a huge win for common sense and demonstrates the power of people when we stand together,” spokesperson for the campaign Melinda Wilson told Green Left Weekly.

“The NSW Coalition government needs to realise that the people of Western Sydney are sick of being dumped on. There is a history of human rights violations in the west.

“Camden is the home of AGL’s coal seam gas project in NSW, and it’s where people have been sick from the effects for years. The government has done nothing. This is why we knew we had to fight like hell to stop this incinerator going ahead.

“The government sees the people of Western Sydney as collateral damage to keep the donations from corporations coming in.”

The incinerator was being proposed just 800 metres from homes and 1.8 kilometres from three local schools. Prospect Reservoir, part of Sydney’s drinking water catchment and only five kilometres from the proposed site, would also have been contaminated.

“This toxic incinerator project should never have been considered in the first place, so close to homes and schools,” Wilson said.

Last year, Dial A Dump had claimed a majority of people in the area wanted the incinerator. Wilson said that the community surveys had consistently found the opposite.

The Department of Planning recommended the Independent Planning Commission not give the project the go-ahead because of “the air quality impacts and risk to human health is unknown”. It said the development is “not in the public interest and should be refused”.

The Independent Planning Commission now has the final say, but before that, it has bowed to community pressure and will hold a public meeting to hear more of their concerns.

Wilson called on Dial A-Dump, the proponent, to “bury this incinerator idea once and for all”.

“The people of Western Sydney will never let this go ahead; not now, and not in five or ten years.” She also called on all parties to support Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham’s bill to ban such incinerators within 15 kilometres of residential areas.

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