Lyndhurst tip debate turns toxic

Collector's item: Helen Bernard with one of her exquisite ornaments. Picture: Ted Kloszynski

By CATHERINE WATSON and CAMERON LUCADOU-WELLS

SOUTH-East suburban MPs and a residents’ group are outraged at Planning Minister Matthew Guy’s “cruel” dismissal of concerns about hazardous wastes at Lyndhurst tip.

In an acrimonious debate in the upper house last Tuesday, Mr Guy said: “Should I put it in Eltham? Is [Labor MP Adem] Somyurek suggesting Tullamarine? Do they suggest the western suburbs? Caroline Springs? Werribee?

“We have a facility that has been approved for class A waste and has been ticked off by the relevant authorities. This government has solved the problem.

“I am not suggesting or thinking of other locations – in fact, quite to the contrary.”

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Residents Against Toxic Waste in the South East president Thelma Wakelam told the Weekly Mr Guy’s response was insulting.

“It made me very angry to hear the minister saying it’s OK for us to bear the brunt of all Victoria’s hazardous waste.”

Opposition planning spokesman Brian Tee said the comments showed Mr Guy thought “Dandenong is a great big dump for toxic waste”. “To smear the area and the residents is cruel and unhelpful.”

Mr Guy’s comments were in response to a question from Greens Victorian leader Greg Barber, who asked Mr Guy whether a planning amendment for the Lyndhurst tip – rezoning it from farming to industrial – meant the government had abandoned the buffer guidelines recommended by the state’s hazardous wastes siting advisory committee.

Speaking to the Weekly, Mr Tee described Mr Guy’s behaviour as “loud” and “aggressive”, and “surreal and out of context” with the serious issue being debated.

Ms Wakelam said the state government had to introduce a genuine policy to tackle hazardous waste instead of dumping it on residents of the south-east.

Mr Barber said Mr Guy’s recent decision weakened the recommended buffer zones around tips containing hazardous waste.

Labor and Liberal MPs combined to defeat a motion by Greens upper house member Colleen Hartland to revoke the planning amendment, which allows the tip to treat contaminated soil from all over Melbourne.

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