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ACT GREENS WASTE POLICY FRAMEWORK (against waste-to-energy) for a Sustainable Zero Waste Future
by Shane Rattenbury, MLA Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability

As you are aware, there have recently been a number of waste-to-energy proposals put forward in the ACT, including some in response to the ACT Government’s market sounding exercise of February 2017. I understand that this is an issue of great interest to the community because waste reduction and management involves and impacts every individual, business and organisation across the ACT.

That is why I am writing to you to outline the ACT Greens position on this issue. The ACT Greens believe that our waste must be minimised and managed sustainably to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate climate change and keep our city clean and liveable for all Canberrans.

I believe it is important that the ACT has a clear framework to evaluate waste-to-energy proposals, and that is why the ACT Greens have developed the attached policy document, including a set of key principles to assess proposals for waste management facilities. These principles are designed to ensure we reduce waste production and minimise environmental impacts from the waste sector. The ACT Greens support the inclusion of these principles in the ACT’s broader waste management strategy.

I also wanted to provide some advice about the ACT Greens position on the proposal by Capital Recycling Solutions for a waste-to-energy facility in Fyshwick. I understand that further details will be made available through the EIS and planning processes. However, from what has been released to date, I am concerned about the potential for the release of emissions and particulates into the atmosphere from this proposal, and the impact this will have on local residents and the environment.

Furthermore, in line with the principles outlined in the attached policy framework the ACT Greens believe that thermal waste-to-energy processes such as incineration present significant health and environmental challenges. I believe that burning residual waste is no better than burning dirty fossil fuels and does not allow us to achieve the maximum economic and environmental benefit from those resources.

For these reasons, and the others outlined in the attachment, the ACT Greens do not support the proposal put forward by Capital Recycling Solutions. The ACT Greens also do not support providing financial support to incineration projects through a feed-in-tariff (FiT) when this support could otherwise be provided to renewable energy proposals. I believe there are better ways for the ACT to manage its waste and generate electricity through renewable sources to support our target of zero net emissions.

I welcome any questions or comments, which can be directed to rattenbury@act.gov.au. I hope this information helps clarify the ACT Greens’ position on this important issue.

Yours sincerely,
Shane Rattenbury, MLA

Ph: (02) 6205 0005
Fax: (02) 6205 0007
Email: Rattenbury@act.gov.au
Post: GPO Box 1020, Canberra, ACT 2601
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