Fresh take on waste site

MELBOURNE’S rubbish could be dumped in a quarry near Yallourn North under a plan by French waste management company Veolia to establish landfills in Gippsland.

The company has identified the Yallourn North site as a potential landfill and wants it included on the Gippsland Waste and Resource Recovery Implementation Plan, set for release next year.

However the Gippsland Waste and Resource Recovery Group, set up by the State Government in August last year to develop the GWRRIP, has moved quickly to allay any community fears, indicating it had not yet established whether there was a need for another landfill in Gippsland.

While Veolia settled on an exhausted quarry at Leongatha South as its preference to develop one of two proposed landfills in eastern Victoria, it is already facing a community backlash in South Gippsland.

Veolia project manager Andrew Race said the company had an option on a quarry at Yallourn North and it was a “better site” than Leongatha South.

“It (Yallourn North) is a bigger site and easier to access, so in that sense it’s a better site,” Mr Race said.

“There are fewer residents around it, which helps. There will be people impacted but fewer people will be impacted (than the Leongatha South option).”

The proposal is only in its infancy and hinges first on the results of the GWRRIP.

If the site is included in the government’s regional waste plan the company would not even have access to it until 2019 and it would take another three years to begin receiving landfill.

Mr Race indicated Veolia would push for its inclusion on the GWRRIP.

“(But) it’s only a potential site and it’s not our focus at the moment… we’re not taking any further action until the site’s on the plan,” he said.

It is understood the quarry is currently owned by Boral. The GWRRIP, currently being developed by Gippsland Waste and Resource Recovery Group, will be integrated into a statewide plan.

While landfill remains part of the plan, the priority is recycling infrastructure.

Gippsland Waste and Resource Recovery Group executive officer Matthew Peake said the need for another landfill in the region had not yet been established.

“We want to have a thorough conversation with the community of Gippsland to understand their aspirations around waste management and resource recovery into the future,” Mr Peake said.