New NSW Law Bans Matraville Incinerator

New NSW Law Bans Matraville Incinerator

A huge win for the Matraville community. The controversial plan to establish an incinerator in this southeastern Sydney suburb will no longer be able to move forward following the passing of the NSW EPA Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Thermal Energy from Waste) Regulation law.

“These new laws mean Veolia’s (formerly SUEZ) unpopular proposal to transport truckloads of rubbish to burn at the Opal paper mill in Matraville is officially dead – it cannot happen.” – Randwick Mayor Dylan Parker

On 28 July 2022, the amendments were passed into law and now form part of the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2021. That meant new energy-from-waste operations (subject to limited exceptions) are now banned except in four designated precincts namely: West Lithgow Precinct, Parkes Special Activation Precinct, Richmond Valley Regional Jobs Precinct and Southern Goulburn Mulwaree Precinct.

“Outside these areas, energy from waste will only be permitted if the facilities use waste, or waste-derived feedstock to replace less environmentally sound fuels to generate energy at the site, and where that energy is used to power industrial and manufacturing processes on-site.” – NSW Environment Protection Authority

“The NSW Government has gazetted new regulations amending the Protection of the Environment Operations Act to ban waste to energy facilities in the Sydney basin,” Randwick City Mayor Dylan Parker said, adding that he was very pleased with the news. He also called on Veolia, formerly SUEZ, to withdraw its proposal from the planning system which he said was a “bad idea”.

“This is huge news for our community who have been living with this dark cloud hanging over them for three years.

“Our community has fought this ill-conceived idea tooth and nail from the very beginning.  

Mayor Parker also congratulated and thanked the members of the community including the Nor Matraville Incinerator community group, the Randwick and Bayside Councillors, State Member Michael Daley, Federal Member Matt Thistlethwaite, the Matraville Precinct, and Matraville locals Mike Whitney and Russel Fairfax who have tirelessly campaigned against the proposed waste-to-energy facility.

“This is a win for people, it’s a win for common sense, and it sends a message that industry cannot trample over the environment and the community for their own benefit.”

Veolia proposed the $250 million 60m high Matraville incinerator back in 2019 to generate power for the Opal Paper Mill. The plant is proposed to run 24/7 and will burn an estimated 165,000 tonnes of construction and other non-organic waste material each year. 

The proposal did not sit well with the locals and businesses since it would mean that the incinerator, which is proposed to be built less than 100 metres from a residential area, will produce toxic pollutants that will potentially have a negative impact on the residents in eastern and southeastern Sydney suburbs.

The “No More Incinerators” group said that the proposed incinerator would benefit Opal in “terms of energy costs, and increase the profit to the shareholders” whilst the community gains nothing from the project but instead “the health of more than 500,000 residents of Sydney Eastern Suburbs, including indigenous population, will be affected by the proposed incinerator.”