19 April 2022

'Emissions don't stop at borders': Tarago residents make a pitch to ACT to oppose NSW incinerator

| Lottie Twyford
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An artist impression of the proposed Tarago incinerator

An artist’s impression of the proposed Tarago incinerator, or the Advanced Energy Recovery Centre. Photo: Veolia.

Impassioned residents strongly opposed to a $600 million waste incinerator planned for 35 km from the ACT’s border are calling on the ACT Government to help put a stop to the project.

Although the facility would be built in Tarago, they say it’s not only a NSW problem as computer modelling and plume potting shows the plume of emissions and particles would regularly blow across Lake George and into North Canberra suburbs.

Communities Against Tarago spokesperson Paige Davis says locals feel as though those in Sydney who are making decisions think the area is “some kind of desert” when in fact it’s a thriving area that will only grow as Canberra pushes out.

Ms Davis says the region’s drinking water, which is collected from roofs, would be at risk, as would all the agricultural activity.

“People like to think this is just our problem, but that’s far from the truth. The plume on any given day could go to Goulburn, Collector, Bungendore and to Canberra,” she explains.

The proposed incinerator, to be built by Veolia, would burn around 380,000 t of Sydney’s waste each year and operate 24 hours a day.

It would be built on the company’s existing Woodlawn landfill and bio-reactor site, which already causes a literal stink for residents like Ms Davis.

“I have smelled that on a daily basis for over 10 years now,” she says.

Currently, the multinational company is preparing an environmental impact statement for the NSW Government.

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The ACT Government has already banned waste-to-energy incineration, Ms Davis notes and recently agreed to look into legislating for the right to a healthy environment, which is why Communities Against Tarago sees it as an ally.

“The proposed incinerator jeopardises these moves to protect Canberrans from climate change and ensure everyone can access clean air, water, healthy food and nature,” the group’s petition reads.

Ms Davis says there is already a group of Canberrans concerned about the proposal.

“We believe the ACT Government doesn’t really understand the proximity and the real possibilities for increased [emissions] … the reality is it doesn’t respect borders,” she explains.

They now want the ACT Government to publicly oppose the proposal, lodge formal opposition to any waste-to-energy incinerator proposed near the ACT and ban ACT waste from being used as feedstock for waste-to-energy incineration.

Furthermore, it calls on the Territory Government to liaise with NSW Government counterparts and conduct an awareness campaign to ensure Canberrans are informed and know how to object.

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The three NSW local councils from the surrounding areas of Queanbeyan-Palerang, Goulburn-Mulwaree and Yass Valley have already publicly denounced Veolia’s proposal.

At a public QPRC public meeting earlier this year, several community members spoke about their fears for the future should the project be allowed to go ahead.

Some spoke of fears for their health and that of their children.

Councillors later unanimously voted to declare their objection.

The community group against the project is hoping to get even more local councils on board but the end goal is completely stopping it from ever going ahead.

“The populations here don’t want it; the councils don’t want it,” Ms Davis says.

A spokesperson for Veolia previously told Region Media that energy from waste technology is globally proven to be safe and more sustainable than landfilling.

“The NSW Government has set the highest health, environmental and operational standards in the world for this technology and they will only approve projects that can meet them. There will be no unsafe impact on local communities and this will be verified in the Environmental Impact Statement.”

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I can find references to the local councils and governments of Goulburn, Yass and Tarago all speaking out in opposition to the massive garbage incinerator proposed to be built near Tarago. There is a deafening silence from the Canberra Green/Labor Government…

The toxic smoke will blow over Canberra, in fact that is the plan. The incinerator is planned to only operate with winds blowing over the lake so that larger particulate matter falls into lake George. This will cover north Canberra with the toxic smoke of Sydney’s Garbage.

The Canberra Green/Labor Government so committed to reducing climate change that they built a billion dollar train ride to the north. But are happy to see and breath in the burning garbage from Sydney.

Where does the Canberra Green/Labor Government stand on this? Why are they so quiet?

Capital Retro8:56 am 04 May 22

I am surprised that the virtue signalling Canberra government didn’t do the same as the project is classed as a renewable energy one.

The NIMBY’s know no bounds in to the stuff they will make up to prevent something they don’t like.

Anyone that’s looked at the evidence against this proposal being presented by these groups should see how flimsy it is.

Why even have regulatory emissions limits if proposals can still be shut down by whinging locals.

The apparent “maps” of emission plumes that they are promoting actually show there is very little impact. If you want to, the plumes can be expanded to go on forever even though that doesn’t occur in reality. However, it’s the emissions concentrations that matter.

Infrastructure to server Canberra. They should build it soon and do up the rail line while their at it.

Canberra – CAN BE poweRed by neighbouRs wAste.

Sounds like jobs to me

Capital Retro10:07 am 20 Apr 22

Rattenbury and Barr live in the north Canberra suburbs so it would be poetic justice to see this project proceed and regular fugitive emission plumes touching down in Braddon for them to savour given that they continually deny there are any emissions coming from the MLRMC.

How exactly do you think a “fugitive emissions plume” from an industrial incinerator is going to “touch down” in Braddon?

And here I was thinking if anyone would be an expert on hot air, it would be CR.

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