NSW Labor Opposition spokesperson on the Environment, Ms Penny Sharpe, has put questions on notice to the Minister for the Environment about the landfill at Mangrove Mountain.
Questions were asked in the Legislative Council and directed to the Minister, Ms Gabrielle Upton.
Ms Sharpe asked whether an environmental review of the landfill site had been conducted and if so, who had conducted the review, what were the findings of the review, what actions will be taken as a result of the review, if any, and will the review be made public?
Ms Sharpe also asked: “What was the outcome of the investigation by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in conjunction with Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) special investigators of an allegation of sediment being washed into a nearby unnamed creek in August 2015?
“Given that the original 1998 council consent for the site approved remodelling of the Mangrove Mountain Golf Course involving a small amount of clean fill, with a limit of 80,000 cubic metres of fill that was set in an area known as Area B and regulated by an environment protection licence (licence number 11395), can the Minister provide details of the reasons the EPA elected to renew this licence multiple times given there is now approximately 800,000 cubic metres of waste on the site that is not all clean fill, which is approximately 10 times the original planning proposal?
“Did the EPA renew environment protection licence 11395 eight times since 2008 without taking into consideration sections 45(i) and 50 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, which requires the EPA to take into consideration any relevant environmental impact statement (EIS) when reviewing such licences?
“Given that the original EIS for the approved development application states that for Area B, 80,000 cubic metres of fill material was permitted to be imported, and that each of the licence renewals since 2008 confirm there was more than 80,000 cubic metres in Area B … why was the licence renewed on these occasions?
“Is the Minister aware of any concerns that these previous licence renewals may therefore be invalid?
“What action will the Minister take to address recent estimates that 85 per cent of the existing waste mound at the site is unlined, with ineffective lining on the remaining 15 per cent, and that approximately three million litres of leachate is produced annually by the present waste mound and may be leaking into local groundwater?
“Would a landfill of this size and nature at this location, and within a drinking water catchment, be given initial approval under the EPA’s current ‘Environmental Guidelines: Solid Waste Landfills’?
“Given the recent development approval to further increase the permitted landfill capacity from 800,000 cubic metres to 1.3 million cubic metres, will the Minister intervene in order to re-evaluate the appropriateness of a landfill of this size at this location, and either close and remediate the site or take action to ensure the site is made environmentally safe?
“If not, why not?” Ms Sharpe asked.
The questions are required to be answered by Ms Upton by June 8.
Answers Paper 104, May 4
NSW Legislative Council