Dardanup shire president addresses community Cleanaway concern

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times

A statement made by shire president Mick Bennett at last week’s Dardanup Shire Council meeting delivered the clearest indication yet that councillors are prepared to support community opposition to an expanded operation at the Banksia Road landfill site.

In the statement Cr Bennett said he believed the council would not support lithium tailings being stored at the landfill site if they were found to pose an adverse environmental or health risk.

“I would also like to clarify that council will continue to listen to all relevant issues and that future applications will need to be assessed and considered in more detail by the Environmental Protection Authority and through the planning process it is likely to be considered by the JDAP,” he said.

The statement comes after members of the Dardanup Environmental Action Group repeatedly asked council to make its position clear.

Cr Bennett said it had been an awkward situation because there was a process that had to be followed and that the statement had to be cleared by lawyers before being made.

He said that he had become increasingly tired of not being provided sufficient information about what could potentially be in the tailings to be stored at the site.

“You think that would be the first things you’d put on the table with the application,” he said.

“That is why we feel that the applicants have been very dismissive of both council and community to this point on those terms.

“I don’t know what’s in the tailings — we can find out a reasonable amount but not everything and we need to know the whole story.

“It would be fantastic if Albemarle and Cleanaway would work with us to perhaps make something good of those tailings so let’s start thinking about what we could do.”

A compliance audit for the site was also presented at the meeting.

Cr Bennett said it would provide the council with a base to compare further assessments as it looks to be more proactive by employing a compliance officer.

“In the past we haven’t had the money to appoint those sorts of people so it’s a step in the right direction,” he said. “Instead of being reactive we will be proactive addressing community concerns.”

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