Chunxing documents given endorsement from council

Debate: The proposed Chunxing battery plant has raised the ire of some residents. file photograph

Michelle Slater

LATROBE City Council has endorsed documents including an environmental management plan to allow developer Chunxing to start building its Hazelwood North used lead acid battery plant.

However, Latrobe City is also taking out an enforcement action against the company for carrying out minor works at the Fourth Road site before all these incorporated documents were finalised.

A Latrobe City spokesperson said council had asked Chunxing to cease works until all the
required paperwork was endorsed after officers attended the site last week.

“Appropriate enforcement action will be taken by Latrobe City Council in relation to this breach,” the spokesperson said.

Chunxing had submitted plans to be reviewed and endorsed by both Latrobe City and the
Environment Protection Authority, but works couldn’t start until these plans were approved.

The EPA had also contacted Chunxing about the exact nature of some works at the site, which it confirmed included installing a small sewer pipe riser.

But an EPA spokesman said the sewer preparation works did not require EPA approval
or fall within the conditions of the company’s EPA works approval.

Objector group ALiVE secretary Maggie Jones said she hoped the Planning Minister Richard
Wynne would carry out an environmental effects statement into the project, even though Chunxing could now lawfully start construction.

“ALiVe will continue to request that due process and proper oversight be undertaken for the pro- ject,” Ms Jones said.

“Our concern was Chunxing’s willingness to misunderstand its conditions so early in the peace.

“What does this mean going forward?”

Chunxing is aiming to build a battery recycling plant to transform 50,000 tonnes of used car batteries into 28,000 tonnes of refined lead per year.

The development had gained an EPA Works Approval and had been given the green light by
the Planning Minister.

Latrobe City had refused the planning application after receiving strong community opposition, despite the application being recommended for approval by council planning officers.

The Express had contacted Chunxing for comment.