Hume proposal to be referred to expert panel

Released 11/01/2017

A proposal for a facility to be built in Hume which would convert waste plastic to liquid fuel will be referred to a panel of health and environment experts for further consideration, Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman announced today.

“The proposed facility for Hume’s industrial estate has attracted significant public interest since the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was released for public consultation from August to November last year,” Minister Gentleman said.

“The ACT Government is committed to diversifying our economy and attracting new businesses which improve our waste management, but we also need to ensure we appropriately assess new proposals and technologies.

“The Hume facility proposes new technology to help deal with plastic waste that would otherwise go to landfill so I want to ensure we take the time to have the right people assess these important issues, particularly around any potential health impacts,” Minister Gentleman said.

“A number of concerns have been raised particularly around potential emissions from the facility and the proximity of the facility to residential areas.

“While FOY has attempted to address these concerns in their revised EIS submission to the planning authority, there is still a level of uncertainty on the extent of the impacts associated with the proposal, particularly in relation to public health impacts, as well as risks associated with the proposed technology.

“I have asked the Acting Director-General of the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, Gary Rake, to put together a panel of health and environment experts in the coming days to thoroughly assess any potential impacts from the proposal. Mr Rake will seek advice from the ACT Chief Health Officer when identifying suitable panel members,” Minister Gentleman said.

“The terms of reference for the Inquiry will be finalised to enable the panel to commence work later this month.

“The Inquiry will include aspects such as researching comparable developments in close proximity to residents in other cities around Australia and overseas as well as the suitability of the Hume site for the proposed facility, particularly in relation to any long-term health impacts to nearby residents and any impacts on the future use of surrounding land. Reports submitted as part of the proposal will also be reviewed by the panel.

“I have requested that a public hearing be held as part of the Inquiry so that representative groups, in particular, can put forward their concerns to be investigated. Other members of the public will also be able to contact the secretariat for the panel and the 63 submissions received during consultation on the draft EIS will be provided to the panel. “FOY Group has been notified of the decision and will be kept informed throughout the process. I expect the panel to be established by the end of the month with a report finalised by the end of April 2017 for the Government to consider,” Minister Gentleman concluded.

- Statement ends -

Section: Mick Gentleman, MLA | Media Releases

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