Four corners exposes NSW waste industry corruption

This week's ABC TV Four Corners program, exposing illegal activities in the NSW waste and recycling industry, has stirred an angry response from the Queensland Government and calls from NSW Greens MP and Environment spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi for a Special Commission of Inquiry into waste.

Dr Faruqi said the program had revealed a culture of illegal dumping, cover ups, mismanagement and dismissal of community concerns.

“In light of the very serious concerns, including for personal safety of whistle blowers, I am calling for a Special Commission of Inquiry with the power to hold hearings, compel witnesses and demand answers.

“Quite frankly, the NSW Government has not cleaned up the mess that is the waste industry. They have no political will to deal with the realities of waste. They dropped the ball and that’s why an independent special commission is a must.

“New South Wales can’t just be treating the rest of the country as its dumping ground and exporting waste to Queensland and Victoria to be buried in landfills or stockpiled.

“I think communities would be shocked to find that their recycling efforts which are made in good faith haven’t resulted in much being recycled at all. There are waste operators being paid good money by ratepayers to recycle waste and it appears that this simply isn’t happening.

“Ultimately, this has blown away any pretence that we can keep producing and consuming waste and hope that we can recycle our way out of it. We need to urgently move up the waste hierarchy and massively reduce the amount of waste being produced” she concluded.

The Queensland Premier, Anna Palaszczuk, said she would discuss the allegations, including the non-enforcement of the "proximity principle", with New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

The proximity principle, under NSW law, makes it an offence "to transport waste generated in NSW by motor vehicle for disposal more than 150 kilometres from the place of generation, unless the waste is transported to one of the two nearest lawful disposal facilities to the place of generation".

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