How much council has spent in waste court challenges
IPSWICH City Council has spent $2.54 million fighting waste companies in court over the past four years, with mayor Teresa Harding lamenting the waste of ratepayer funds that could have been spent elsewhere.
The impact of waste facilities on city residents has been at the fore for Cr Harding over the past several weeks.
At the end of June, a proposed $400 million waste to energy facility by Remondis was declared a coordinated project by the State Government's Coordinator-General.
Then last Sunday, a 900 sqm fire broke out at Cleanaway's landfill site in New Chum, sending blankets of thick smoke through the city.
There are four cases currently before the courts between the council and waste companies.
When handing down the council's 2020-21 $603 million budget, Cr Harding said tough economic times were compounded by the millions "squandered" by the previous council.
"Since 2016, council has spent $2.54 million fighting for the community on seven appeals against development applications in the courts," Cr Harding said.
"That compares to council's annual budget for community safety and innovation. We're currently spending $2.6 million on that.
"We're also spending $2.6 million on rehabilitating kerbs and channels.
"We could get a lot more done with that $2.54 million if we weren't consistently fighting.
"My concern is we've had this huge increase in (development applications) for more landfill in areas that aren't landfill as well as to expand current landfill sites.
"My concern is we're going to see a lot more of that. We really need a cost effective and timely way to deal with it."
The mayor has gone back and forth with Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch over cracking down on waste companies who aren't doing the right thing in the wake of the New Chum landfill fire.
"I'm not wanting a big political battle here," she said.
"I really do want to work with the local (state) members. I think it's important for the community to know we're working together.
"From a council perspective I'm doing everything I can within the rules that the council has.
"I have ordered an audit of the New Chum site to ensure that Cleanaway is operating in line with the conditions of its development application.
"Council officers have completed two sites visits. The audit is in process.
"Most of the complaints are about noise, odours and dust and they are all State Government responsibilities.
"This council will hold the State Government's feet to the fire to make sure that those issues the residents are concerned about are actually followed up and addressed."