Ministerial powers used to override council planning decision

A Queensland local council is disappointed by the state government’s decision to use ministerial powers to override its planning process with regards to a proposed $50 million recycling park, which includes the construction of a landfill site.

Teresa Harding

Ipswich City Council in September 2021 rejected an application by waste management company Wanless for the recycling and landfill development at a disused mine site at Ebenezer, 61 km from Brisbane.

But planning minister Steven Miles last week announced the government would call the proposal in following detailed departmental advice.

Ministerial call-ins can be used in response to development applications that impact on state interests and are designed to be used only in exceptional circumstances.

Council says no to landfill site

Mayor Teresa Harding says the decision is disappointing given council planning officers and an independent decision review panel had agreed to approve the resource recovery components of Wanless’s application but not the creation of another landfill site.

Wanless’ original proposal anticipated that 1,000,000 tonnes of waste would be processed at the facility, with 550,000 tonnes going to landfill.

“Council had already thoroughly assessed the Wanless proposal when it made its original decision, and we stand by this decision,” Mayor Teresa Harding said.

State interests

Dr Miles says the decision to call in the project was made because of economic, environmental and regional planning state interests, as well as the federal inland rail project.

The proposed development at Ebenezer (Wanless)

“The call-in requires Wanless to demonstrate its facility will support the state’s goal of reducing waste to landfill and increasing reuse and recycling and that the project can only be economically viable if all elements of the facility are approved,” he said in a statement.

He said the call-in would also allow the project to be considered in the light of the Council of Mayors SEQ Waste Management Plan, finalisation of the review of the waste levy and the temporary local planning instrument.

The development assessment process will restart at the start of the application.

Cr Harding said Council would now focus on ensuring  Dr Miles had all the relevant information in considering the matter, “particularly the negative environmental and community impacts of this proposal”.

Council would prepare a submission for the government, she said.

“Our community expects the highest standards of scrutiny of any new landfill proposal in Ipswich, as it is our residents who put up with the negative impacts of the waste industry time and time again,” Cr Harding said.

An appeal of the Wanless proposal currently before the Planning and Environment Court will now be superseded by the call-in.

Comment has been sought from Wanless.

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One thought on “Ministerial powers used to override council planning decision

  1. I’m sure Mr Miles must have a greater understanding of the Ipswich City Council’s constituents than the Ipswich City Council does. The call-in reeks of “not what you know but who you know’. The Qld State Government is an utter disgrace. It’s past time for some integrity and truth.

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