By Charlene Macaulay
The fight to stop the expansion of Werribee tip will reach court in May, after the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) dismissed a Wyndham council bid to drop the case.
The Western Region Environment Centre has successfully applied for VCAT to undertake a review of the Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) decision to approve the expansion.
In October, the EPA granted Wyndham council the green light to open four landfill cells within the boundaries of its Wests Road landfill.
The council can build four cells that will each be made up of multiple sub-cells and can reach up to 30 metres above natural ground level – or 44 metres above sea level. This is the height limit enforced on the tip’s existing cells.
WREC spokesman Harry van Moorst said giving the council approval for 26 years posed a number of problems. He said residents were concerned about the height of the tip.
“At 24 metres high it is an eyesore and produces horrible smells that locals have to put up with,” he said.
“We are especially worried council and the EPA haven’t properly assessed health and safety risks, because they haven’t adequately factored in the impact of letting rubbish build to this height.
“Landfills are not supposed to be mountains, but state government policy means there is a growing concentration of rubbish in a few huge landfills like Werribee, Ravenhall and Wollert.
“It’s a matter of environmental injustice that so many sources of pollution are located in the western suburbs. Residents are fed up with continually being taken for granted.”
Wyndham council, which owns and operates the tip, unsuccessfully argued against the review, saying there were no valid arguments for the tribunal to consider.
Environmental Justice Australia lawyer Chris Atmore, who is representing WREC, said if the expansion plans were upheld, “a whole generation could be locked out of having any meaningful say about the growth of this enormous rubbish tip.”
Published by Wyndham Star Weekly on 6 February 2018