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Council must take action to address concerns

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November 15, 2017

In 2011 the EPA fined the shire almost $6000 after investigations found they had breached their environmental licence after not properly covering waste.

The breach of the EPA licence agreement by not applying the specified top cover to the open face of the Hilldene landfill — resulting in the current fine — is not to be dismissed as an isolated incident, as stated by Mitchell Shire chief executive David Turnball.

In 2011 the EPA fined the shire almost $6000 after investigations found they had breached their environmental licence after not properly covering waste.

Photos of uncovered waste were taken by an EPA aerial drone in May and again in July 2017, resulting in the October $7929 fine.

EPA-issued landfill licences require waste to be covered at the completion of the day’s work to minimise odour, litter, fire, contamination of storm water, or the spread of disease through birds, flies, mosquitoes and rodents.

Our shire instead chose to recurrently leave the working open face of the tip uncovered overnight, putting our community and environment at risk.

So why didn’t the shire submit the EPA audit on time last September? What are they trying to hide?

In issuing the resulting $7773 fine, the EPA report also noted that the council had not implemented all of the recommendations from the previous environmental audit conducted in September 2015.

Because of public complaints the shire was investigated and found to be in breach of the most basic EPA and VCAT landfill licence and permit agreements.

Rate payers are covering the almost $22000 of fines because of the shire’s blatant disregard in ensuring the landfill is run with minimal impact, and it seems they simply couldn’t give ‘‘two pink socks’’.

Mitchell Shire — it’s time you were accountable as the impact of EPA and VCAT non-compliance is real and it is not to be brushed off, as your actions speak louder than words and my family, our community and the environment deserve better.

— Linda Cafasso, Hilldene

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