Big corporates get tax-free ride on toxic soil

Today in the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee the Andrews Labor Government confirmed that its big corporate construction partners, who dig up PFAS toxic soil on the Melbourne Metro and West Gate Tunnel projects, will be exempt from paying hundreds of millions of dollars in landfill levies.

PAEC also heard that the Andrews Labor Government has used the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions as a reason for not conducting community consultation before approving toxic dumping sites.

Labor’s new regulations severely weaken environmental protections by reducing the buffer zone from 500 metres to 200 metres between where schools, homes, health care and child care services are located, and where the toxic soil will be dumped. This is putting the health and wellbeing of people living nearby at risk.

Rather than protecting our environment and keeping communities safe, Labor is giving a free ride to its big corporate mates to dump contaminated soil near homes, schools and agricultural land.

Labor’s new regulations were passed in secret and without any consultation with the community. They remove any appeal rights for communities to challenge environmental protection plans for toxic soil being dumped in their backyard.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Bridget Vallence:

“The Andrews Labor Government does not care about protecting our environment and keeping communities safe from toxic PFAS soil. They’d rather give big overseas construction companies a tax-free ride to dump toxic PFAS soil near people’s homes and schools.

“The Labor Government has severely weakened environmental protections in a dodgy deal that helps its big corporate partners to dump toxic PFAS soil from its tunnel projects near communities in Melbourne’s west and north.

“The Andrews Labor Government has treated the community with contempt. It has completely ignored them and used the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to avoid community consultation about dumping toxic soil just 200 metres from their homes and schools.”

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