One year ago, Greens MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi gave notice for a parliamentary enquiry into the Mangrove Mountain landfill and the role of both the EPA and the former Gosford Council in approving this private tip at the head of the water catchment of the Central Coast. Last night’s 4 Corners program has highlighted the need for a full parliamentary enquiry and the Central Coast Greens demand that it now go ahead immediately.
The Central Coast Greens particularly support investigation into Gosford Council’s actions. For several years, members of the Central Coast Greens have supported the calls by Mangrove Mountain residents, who have been concerned about allegations of improper dumping, water contamination and overdevelopment.
During the last council, former Greens councillor Hillary Morris attempted to shed light on the Landfill. As Hillary Morris explains “Unfortunately every single decision regarding the Landfill at Mangrove Mountain was made during confidential briefings. At no time were the public allowed to be informed of the scenarios being presented to councillors. At one time I remember receiving a lengthy memorandum of advice regarding the legal process and having to give a response within a very short time frame. My response was to say that I couldn’t possibly agree given the limited time frame – from memory most of us were driving back from the National General Assembly in Canberra. Towards the end when the final agreement was reached – I advised all the staff and the councillors that there was no way the community would agree to have the level of fill at the limit set nor the number of associated truck movements.”
Central Coast Greens’ Gosford West council candidate Kate da Costa said:
“This is an example of the worst kind of secrecy and collusion between councils, the state government through the EPA, and private landfill operators. If we do not get a parliamentary enquiry, and a total clean up of the site, we risk every owner of every empty sand quarry on the Mountain being allowed to set up private tips, and further contaminate our water supplies. We don’t want to end up like Ipswich”
“We have opposed this landfill since the problem was brought to our attention by the Mountain residents. There was never a proper DA submitted for the massive private tip; there was never a proper environmental impact statement; the EPA has refused to act on credible reports of illegal tipping; the water monitoring data is secret and it belongs to Verde Terra’s own consultant; and this is clearly not a golf course remodelling – it’s a massive money making operation returning tipping fees to the state government and profits to a private company.”
“When Paul Anderson first became General Manager of Gosford Council, he referred council staff to ICAC over this project. Then it dropped off the radar. We back Dr Faruqi’s parliamentary enquiry, but if that fails to get support, we call for an independent enquiry into Gosford Council’s processes. We also want to know why Wyong Council failed to act, when the landfill overflow has contaminated waterways which are its responsibility.”
Kate da Costa said “Why should community groups have to put in GIPA applications to get the results of water monitoring on operations within our water catchment? This data should be freely available, as should the details of every breach of license by the operators of the landfill. We know from the EPA website that there have been breaches, and responses – but despite a GIPA from us, the EPA will not release the details.”
Greens NSW MP and Environment Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC said:
“What is clear from the 4 Corners exposé is that the whole waste industry stinks.
“The community have been campaigning for years to expose the Mangrove Mountain landfill – the culture of cover-ups, mismanagement and dismissal of community concerns.
“The NSW Government has proven itself unwilling to act on this issue so the Parliament has to take it into its own hands and begin an investigation.
“That’s why I gave notice for a parliamentary last year that would cover the role of Environmental Protection Authority, the landfill operator and the local council. With these revelations I hope the other parties get on board and support the inquiry to get to the bottom of it all.
For further information please contact:
Kate da Costa
M: 0419 481328
M: 0424 079 442
M: 0402 118 350
Dr Mehreen Faruqi’s proposal for a parliamentary enquiry, August 25 2016
Dr Faruqi to move—
1. That a select committee be established to inquire into the operation, regulation and approvals of
the Mangrove Mountain Waste Landfill and in particular:
(a) the appropriateness of the siting of the landfill on the head of a water catchment,
(b) the leachate and water management on site and the contamination or potential contamination of the local environment, including the water catchment,
(c) the actions of the Environmental Protection Authority and the former Gosford City Council (now Central Coast Council) in investigating complaints about contamination and breaches of the environmental license and consent orders,
(d) the process for approving the landfill and of issuing environmental licences and variations, including the role of relevant local government authorities and the Land and Environment Court,
(e) future options for managing the site, including closing and remediating the site, and
(f) any other related matter.