Taxpayers to pay for Labor’s toxic soil mess as foreign-owned contractors eligible for grants

In Victorian State Budget hearings today, the Andrews Labor Government confirmed taxpayers would be left to foot the bill to clean up the millions of tonnes of PFAS toxic soil dug up from the Melbourne Metro and West Gate Tunnel projects.

Earlier this year, the Labor Government sneakily rushed through new regulations exempting foreign-owned tunnel contractors from paying any landfill levy on the toxic PFAS soil they’ll dump on Victorian communities.

Last week in a shock announcement, the EPA confirmed it had revoked environmental management plan approvals for the three toxic soil dumps it had approved in Bacchus Marsh, Bulla and Ravenhall, because it’d failed to follow proper legal process.

Today, Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, confirmed that the foreign-owned tunnel contractors would be eligible for taxpayer funded grants of up to $47 million dollars to remediate PFAS toxic tunnel soil in so-called ‘field trials’. The revelation came through questioning today by the Shadow Environment Minister, Bridget Vallence, in the Public Accounts and Estimates hearing.

Victorians will be left to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to make this PFAS toxic soil safe, but not before dumping it on the doorstep of communities near homes, schools and fruit and vegetable farms.

Not only are the Melbourne Metro and West Gate Tunnel projects billions of dollars over budget and years behind in completion, but Victorians are left to pay for the toxic mess.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Environment, Bridget Vallence:

“It’s outrageous that Victorians will be forced to foot the bill to clean up the millions of tonnes of toxic tunnel soil.

“The Andrews Labor Government won’t rule out raiding funds from the Landfill Levy to clean up this toxic mess. They’ve confirmed that tunnel contractors would be eligible for taxpayer funded grants of up to $47 million dollars.

“Not only are the Melbourne Metro Tunnel and West Gate Tunnel projects billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule, but Victorian taxpayers will be dumped with the cost of cleaning up Labor’s toxic mess.

“This Labor Government has been caught out trying to dump of millions of tonnes of toxic PFAS soil without public consultation, removing appeal rights to VCAT and rushing through environmental approvals for dump sites near homes and schools without the legal power to do so.

“Labor doesn’t care about the environment or people, and cares more about finding sneaky ways in their budget to keep foreign-owned tunnel contractors happy.”

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