20 July 2021

Goulburn Mulwaree Council seeks to stop Jerrara Power project in its tracks

| Lottie Twyford
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Artist’s rendering of energy-from-waste facility in Western Australia

Artist’s rendering of an energy-from-waste facility under construction at East Rockingham, Western Australia. The Jerrara Power facility at Bungonia would be a similar design. Photo: Jerrara Power.

The stoush between Goulburn Mulwaree Council and Jerrara Power continues with council reiterating its opposition to the energy-from-waste project and seeking to halt the issuing of Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs).

Jerrara Power has proposed the development of an energy-from-waste facility to be built at Jerrara Road, Bungonia.

However, council says it remains in total opposition to all waste-to-energy proposals until the NSW Government develops a policy establishing that such facilities would be in the best interests of communities and the environment as well as human, animal and biodiversity health.

On Thursday, 15 July, council considered a report regarding a submission to the SEARs for Jerrara Power.

At this time, council’s general manager was authorised to seek further legal advice with the intent of lodging proceedings in the Land and Environment Court of NSW in order to stop the issuing of SEARs.

Goulburn Mulwaree Council Mayor Bob Kirk firmly believes council will be able to stop the proposal prior to SEARs being issued.

“The Jerrara Power project is contrary to the provisions of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) and the Goulburn Mulwaree Local Environmental Plan, and therefore SEARs should not be issued,” said a statement issued by council.

He noted that council is prepared to go to the Land and Environment Court of NSW if necessary.

READ MORE Bungonia and Tarago residents kick up a stink over waste-to-electricity incinerators

“This is a pristine rural environment close to Bungonia National Park and on a school bus route,” said Mayor Kirk.

“We cannot see the logic in placing a large industrial plant generating toxic emissions in a beautiful regional area such as this.”

However, Mayor Kirk did note that council has endorsed a submission to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment outlining its concerns in regards to human, animal and environmental health along with transport, flooding and biodiversity concerns.

He stated the submission had been lodged without prejudice and that the number one priority for council remains the halting of the issuing of SEARs.

Council will also write directly to Jerrara Power advising total opposition to the proposal and seeking withdrawal, and a copy of the resolution and attached submission will then be sent to Federal Member for Hume Angus Taylor and NSW Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman.

Other reasons for concern included by council in its submission and letter to Jerrara Power include the proximity of the site to Bungonia National Park; environmental emissions, including the presence of dioxins which will settle in soil; and the significant impacts associated with the installation of a transmission line to the substation in Goulburn.

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Jerrara Power has proposed to build the facility on 133 hectares it purchased in 2020. The company plans to transform residual waste not suitable for recycling – sourced both locally and from Sydney – into power.

The company plans to make use of ‘grate combustion’ thermal technology which processes waste at high temperatures.

Heat from combustion boils water to create steam which then drives a turbine connected to a generator to produce electricity to be fed into the grid.

Residents in the area who oppose the facilities are worried about the impact on air quality and health, and continue to lobby federal members.

Another facility is also proposed at Tarago to be built by Veolia.

Read Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s full submission online.

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