Help protect Australia from massive waste mountains

By Western Region Environment Centre

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A little bit of context

Australia is a long way behind the rest of the world with its waste management. Instead of taking effective action to develop resource recovery options we are still using landfill as the primary way of managing our consumption waste. As this waste increases to unsustainable amounts Governments and EPAs are permitting massive waste mountains to take this waste because it appears, in the short term, to be the cheapest option. Meanwhile other developed nations are increasingly transitioning to better recycling and resource recovery options and reducing landfill to a last resort option. While Governments and EPAs claim to support such a transition little real progress has been made over the past decade. The impact of large waste mountains on nearby communities is substantial. Emissions of odours, dust, leachate (contaminated water and other liquids) and noise create health and amenity problems.

Now we find the Victorian Government and EPA , like similar bodies in other states, are approving 26-year expansions of the two primary landfills taking the bulk of all Melbourne’s landfilled waste, thereby increasing the emissions and impacts on the adjoining communities of Wyndham and Melton/Ravenhall.

Here’s what we’re doing about it

The affected community in Wyndham has lodged an appeal against the EPA’s expansion approval. The Wyndham City Council which owns and operates the landfill to the Victorian Civil Administration Tribunal (VCAT) is supporting the EPA to protect the income it earns from the landfill. The community knows there are available alternatives and that the environment is not for sale, even to a Council.

If we can prevent this expansion by showing VCAT how unsustainable, unjust and unnecessary the expansion is we will be setting an important precedent for similar trends in other regions. We will also be providing strong incentives for Government and EPA to accelerate the investments that are ready in the wings.

However, over the past decade VCAT has started demanding substantial application and hearing fees amounting to at least $12,800 just for lodging and hearing the appeal. To this must be added the cost of lawyers/barristers and “expert witnesses” if there is to be any chance of meeting the VCAT requirements. On the other hand, Wyndham Council and EPA will use ratepayers’ and tax payer’s funds for their defence of their expansion (Council indicated they expected to spend at least $100,000 to try to win the expansion approval). Justice through VCAT is no longer a right but a privilege.

WREC, the not-for-profit community group organizing the Appeal, supported by Environmental Justice Australia (EJA), does not have such resources.

We need community support from donors like you (Donations over $2 tax deductible).

Your contribution wil help us employ the experts required to win this important VCAT appeal and change the direction of Australia's waste management trajectory away from landfill and towards effective resource recovery.


All contributions will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000. So double the value of your donation to this important step in promoting sensible waste management and sustainability in this test case.

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Team Members

Harry van Moorst

Gail Price

Helen & Jos van den Berg

Western Region Environment Centre members