August 08, 2017 | Graham

This is what you get when you dump rubbish in an old mine

Four Corners has struck again with another non-story that has panicked the political establishment.

Queensland doesn’t have a waste levy. This means it is cheaper to dump in Queensland than elsewhere, creating a business opportunity for waste disposal companies who operate in New South Wales.

Not surprisingly some of them have secured properly zoned dump sites in South-East Queensland, in the Ipswich City Council area.

These sites were formerly open-cut coal mines, but are now just holes in the ground.

This looks like a win/win to me, and one that has been run many times in Australian history.

Take Whites Hill Reserve at Holland Park (illustrated at right). Adjacent to some of the most upmarket real estate in Coorparoo, it was originally a quarry, and when I was growing-up, the local dump.

Unless we are going back to the stone age, waste disposal is a fact of life. And where better to put it than into a hole in the ground that can eventually be turned into playing fields and a recreational reserve.

Local residents put up with the dump for decades, but in the end were rewarded with a first class set of playing fields, and an outdoor auditorium.

Take a close look at your local playing field and the chances are it was originally filled with waste material before being finished-off as a recreational facility.

However, in the hands of reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna, fueled it would appear by industry lobbyist Grant Musgrove (who makes some outlandish allegations about criminality in the waste disposal industry), what is a sensible commercial arrangement, is demonised.

This is stoked by some local NIMBYs who don’t appreciate the jobs the industry brings into the area, and can’t wait for the benefits that will accrue from the open-cut mines being filled.

Local politicians, including Cr Paul Tully, candidate for Ipswich Mayor, have jumped onto the issue, although, as the facilities were all approved by the council, and Tully is currently the deputy mayor, you’d have to think he was partly responsible.

He is trying to dump (sic) the responsibility onto the state government, and so the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, having waxed lyrical about the evils of trading with New Zealand is now inveighing against the importation of solid waste fill from New South Wales.

Where is the politician who will stand up for the residents who earn money from the facilities, or from those who work in the facilities? I remember back in 1991 that Ipswich was keen to take Brisbane’s rubbish.

It would have cost $30m more than building the Rochedale dump. Lord Mayor Sallyanne Atkinson went ahead and  built the Rochedale dump, and the cost to her was the Lord Mayoralty, which she lost to Jim Soorley on this very issue.

To further illustrate the possible benefits of filling-up old mines with waste, here are some more pictures from Whites Hill Reserve.


Posted by Graham at 1:22 pm | Comments (3) |