Today’s announcement that the Andrews Labor Government has finally stepped in to deal with a huge waste stockpile at Lara is too little, and far too late.
The site has been a problem almost from the day the planning permit was issued in 2016.
Early in 2018 the Government’s own Stockpile Taskforce identified the site as a high risk location, but did nothing. The City of Greater Geelong was left to unsuccessfully lodge an enforcement application with VCAT.
Despite those proceedings revealing that the site contains 350,000 m³ of waste, and by some reports including 4,000 used tyres and several drums of oil, it was also reported that despite stockpile heights being routinely exceeded, and that both the CFA and EPA had expressed serious concerns about fire safety and risks to health, nothing was done.
Even when the operator’s firm was wound up, the Government sat on its hands and took no action to deal with the risk.
Only now, almost a year since the damning VCAT report and in the absence of further support from the liquidator has the Government finally done something.
VCAT heard almost a year ago that cleaning up the site would cost a hundred million dollars and take 18 to 24 months to achieve and yet to date, absolutely nothing has been done.
Today’s announcement of only $30 million to maintain fire prevention measures and begin the clean-up will do little to solve the problem.
David Morris MP
Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change