Panel appointed to Hume plastics to fuel factory inquiry
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Panel appointed to Hume plastics to fuel factory inquiry

Draft terms of reference have been drawn up for the newly appointed expert panel overseeing the independent inquiry into the plastics to fuel facility proposed for Hume.

Director-General of Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development, Dorte Ekelund, said the inquiry was set to begin in March with a final report to be tabled for government review by the end of April.

Foy Group technical director Bevan Dooley and managing director Stuart Clark at the site of the proposed pastics-to-fuel factory in Hume.

Foy Group technical director Bevan Dooley and managing director Stuart Clark at the site of the proposed pastics-to-fuel factory in Hume.

Photo: Rohan Thomson

"Work has taken place over the last couple of weeks to prepare comprehensive draft terms of reference to guide the inquiry into the Hume proposal," she said.

The draft terms cover reviewing the technology proposed by Foy Group, identifying risk and commenting on the suitability of the proposal and assessing the methodologies of the reports commissioned by Foy Group in relation to public health concerns.

Panel Chair, Craig Lamberton, will bring 24 years experience in the NSW Environment Protection Authority to the panel position, where most recently he was Director of Hazardous Incidents and Environment Health.

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He spent 12 years as the Chairman of the NSW Radiation Advisory Council and has a wealth of other relevant educational qualifications and practical experience.

Former Chief Public Health Officer for South Australia Dr Stephen Christley is another panel member.

He has extensive working as Executive Director of Public Health and Clinical Coordination prior to that role and also worked as the Chief Executive Officer in three different area health services in NSW.

Ms Ekelund said the panel would seek expert advice throughout the inquiry from specific areas as they deem necessary and another panel member may also be appointed.

She confirmed public hearings would form part of the process, and said further details would come once the panel was finalised.

Conservation Council ACT Region executive director Larry O'Loughlin was critical of the draft terms, saying they did not address the issue of whether the industry should be located in the ACT at all.

"While the panel will go some way to looking at health impacts of pollution on local residents and the potential impact of disasters, the panel is not being asked to look at whether this is a suitable long-term industry for the region," he said.

He pointed out it contradictory to reduce future greenhouse emission through light rail on one hand, but generate more emission from imported waste.

"At a time when the ACT is supposed to be reducing emission from the transport sector we are considering importing waste then burning fossil fuels to generate heat to refine the plastic into more fossil fuels," he said.

"The panel should be asked whether the ACT needs an industry proposing that uo to 50 tonnes of plastics be imported into the ACT to be processed into fossil fuels and then for the ACT to manage the residues."