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Zero Waste and anti-incineration campaigner Jane Bremmer says community engagement has shown residents don’t want waste burnt in incinerators. Picture: ANITA McINNES

Councils to vote on EMRC plan

AT a special meeting earlier this month the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council met behind closed doors to decide it would send rubbish to a yet-to-be built incinerator in Rockingam.

As one of the member councils the City of Swan went behind closed doors on Wednesday, September 27 to discuss a motion to do with the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC).

Echo News cannot tell readers what the motion was as it too was confidential.

But Echo News can tell readers at the EMRC special meeting on September 7 nine councillors including City of Swan councillors David Fardig and David McDonnell voted for the EMRC to adopt a financier side deed with a security trustee and each member council.

Echo News understands that a security trustee is the entity holding the various security interests created on trust for the various creditors, such as banks or bondholders and that this structure avoids granting security separately to all creditors which would be costly and impractical.

The EMRC councillors also agreed that chairman Mr Fardig and the chief executive officer be authorised to sign the financier side deed with the security trustee and that they be authorised to sign the participants agreement for a waste supply agreement with each of the member councils – the Shire of Mundaring, the Town of Bassendean and the cities of Swan, Kalamunda, Bayswater and Belmont.

They also agreed the chief executive officer in consultation with the chairman and on legal advice would be able to make minor changes to the agreements.

Also agreed was that EMRC member councils would be requested to adopt and sign the participation agreement for a waste supply agreement as well as adopting and signing the financier side deed.

Publicly the EMRC has announced a consortium led by Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) is the preferred tenderer.

Echo News asked the City of Swan if it signed and adopted the relevant agreements if it would have to agree to supply the East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility (ERRRF) with a set quantity of waste each year and if so what was that quantity.

The city was also asked if the HZI-led consortium already had finance in place to build a facility able to deliver turnkey energy from waste products or did the consortium need a commitment EMRC member councils would send a set quantity of waste each year before the consortium could secure financial backing.

The city said it could not answer the questions and to contact the EMRC who did not respond before Echo News went to press.

According to information on New Energy Corporation’s website – one of consortium’s partners –  the East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility will be able to convert about 300,000 tonnes of waste a year  into baseload renewable energy, producing 28MW of electricity at full capacity – enough to power 36,000 homes.

On its website the EMRC said it would not have to import rubbish to meet its obligations and said the contract with the consortium allowed for future recycling initiatives without penalty or having to supply specific quantities of waste.

The EMRC said the arrangement would not be a disincentive to recycling as the ERRRF would only process waste “after residents have reduced, reused and recycled waste material”.

Zero Waste and anti-incineration coordinator and National Toxics Network member Jane Bremmer said the EMRC had spent more than $1.5 million on the resource recovery facility and sent many councillors on trips to visit overseas incinerator companies, but not to visit those cities practicing Zero Waste models without incineration or to speak with other Zero Waste and sustainability experts and practitioners around the world.

“This has created a biased and misleading perception about the industry, its impacts on health and the environment and the potential options for WA local governments,’’ she said.

“Some [residents] will remember the decades of civil society opposition in the east metro region to establish an incinerator at Red Hill and Hazelmere.”

She said the EMRC had failed to improve waste management and more waste was going to landfill than ever.

By Anita McInnes

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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