Greater Dandenong City Council has strongly opposed the issuing of a planning permit for a waste to energy facility to be built at 70 Ordish Rd, Dandenong South and remains unequivocally opposed to the facility being established. Council is now pursuing this matter further by appealing at VCAT the Works Approval that has been approved by the EPA. This is one of the most significant VCAT planning appeals Greater Dandenong has pursued and demonstrates Council’s commitment to ensuring the proposal is opposed. Greater Dandenong City Council has engaged experts, lawyers and a barrister to defend Council’s opposition to the Works Approval at the Tribunal and is committed to taking action within the timeframes provided.
Planning application (PLN19/0257): Opposed by Council and Appealed by the applicant to VCAT for the issuing of a Permit
- On 15 September 2020 VCAT issued an Order approving the planning application and in accordance with the instructions of VCAT, Council then issued the planning permit on 16 September 2020.
- The reasons given by VCAT for approving the permit revolved around it being considered to be appropriately located in the Industrial 2 Zone and at a considerable distance from sensitive uses and that the EPA, as the relevant authority for odour, noise, emissions etc., had no concerns with this element of the proposal.
- Costs have been reserved and each party has the right to apply for costs
EPA Works Approval
VCAT have issued their Initiating Order, which set out the following dates:
- 17 September 2020– Council to provide the Tribunal with its contentions of fact or law (grounds of appeal)
- 24 September 2020 – Practice Day for VCAT to consider grounds put forward
- 22 October 2020 – Compulsory Conference to see if an ‘agreement can be reached on the proposal
- 1, 2 and 3 February 2021 – Hearing
It is important for the community to be assured of Council’s commitment in continuing to oppose the establishment of the waste to energy facility at 70 Ordish Rd, Dandenong South. In fact, within the report by VCAT in its decision to have the planning permit issued, it noted. "The council was made aware of the issuing of the Works Approval on 21 July 2020 and we acknowledge this was only a week before the commencement of the hearing”. This context and VCAT comment is important as Council had only a week to review a substantial EPA document before appearing at VCAT on the planning permit matter.
In its ongoing strong opposition to the proposed facility, Council has similarly appealed to VCAT the EPA decision to issue a Works Approval. Council has engaged a team of specialists in this regard, including a barrister specialising in environmental matters, as well as a specialist firm that are providing Council with technical advice regarding air quality, noise and vibration impact, human health and environmental risk and waste classification and handling fly ash.
Given the detailed and complex nature of this work, Council has requested an adjournment of the submission of the statement of contentions until 5 October 2020. VCAT advised Council on 23 September 2020 that its request for an adjournment has been denied. Council and its team of specialists are fully committed and dedicated to working on opposing before VCAT the Works Approval issued by the EPA and will continue to work within the timeframes determined by VCAT.
VCAT advised Council on 23 September that the applicant will be seeking to have the matter struck out. ie that the matter not proceed to a hearing. Council will argue vigorously to have the matter go to a hearing so that it can argue its case to have the Works Approval set aside.
Council was advised on September 24 that VCAT has ruled the matter be proceeded with. i.e not struck out. In addition, we were successful in arguing for an extension in time to have our Statement of Contention documentation tabled, and VCAT have granted us our request for an extension of time until 5 October 2020. These are great outcomes and Council’s team of experts continues to build as strong a case as it can in arguing for the Works Approval to be set aside by VCAT.
Council also appreciates the interest in the current VCAT appeal of the EPA Works Approval, and notes that there are a number of residents/ groups that have requested to join Council in this matter. While residents and groups may share the same position as Council on this issue, Council must act independently in matters relating to VCAT. As such, residents/ groups cannot join Council in its appeal.
Further status updates will be provided as information becomes available.