North-west residents have until April to lobby Melton council about controversial plans to expand a Deer Park landfill.
Hundreds of angry residents gathered at Caroline Springs Regional College last night, with more than a dozen queuing up to take the microphone to voice displeasure after putting up with foul odours and a perceived lack of information from council.
Boral’s application, which seeks to extend its operations by 179 million cubic metres, would make it one of the biggest garbage dumps in Australia.
The Weekly understands the council will likely consider the application in April.
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Last night’s meeting almost descended into farce, with Kororoit MP Marlene Kairouz continually cut off by irate members of the public.
Several residents stood up and implored the crowd to contact the Environment Protection Authority at the first whiff of an odour.
“Melton City Council should never allowed [the tip],” one resident said.
“You people have it all wrong, the smell is coming out of Melton City Council,” another said.
The Weekly understands six Melton councillors attended the meeting, including mayor Bob Turner and Cr Kathy Majdlik, who was heckled by several angry residents.
“You are not doing your job, you’re against us,” yelled one man who was sitting next to her.
But Cr Majdlik explained little could be done until the application was presented to councillors.
“I am very concerned, legally we cannot say which way we’ll vote,” Cr Majdlik told the crowd.
“I need people power so I can represent you. We care for you, we live here.”
Cr Turner added: “We cannot prejudge it.
‘‘We need your voice. [The application] will likely come to council in the next few months.”
Objectors have secured bipartisan support, with Western Metropolitan Liberal MP Bernie Finn describing Boral’s application an “outrageous proposal”.
“With an election coming up, this will be the last chance you’ll see us all together united,” he said.
“This proposal is a disgrace and has to be stopped. A great stinking mountain near residential areas is just not on.
“We’ve put up with being pushed around for far too long. We draw the line, we say no more. We will stick with you 100 per cent.”
Western Metropolitan Labor MP Cesar Melhem urged residents to send their objections to the council before the April deadline.
“We can shout and fight at each other and who’s going to win? Boral,” he said.
Ms Kairouz said the council had let people down.
“I have to say I’m quite disappointed that Melton City Council has not brought this amendment to the public,” she said.
“I’ve spoken to many people and they’ve said they’ve received nothing in their letterbox. The community needs to equip itself with what’s coming.
“There are the unresolved odour issues, and lots of other issues with noise, traffic and escaping rubbish.”
A committee of 10 residents will be formed to create further awareness.
A Boral spokesman said the company was improving its gas extraction systems and had no immediate plans to increase the amount of waste it received. He said nothing had changed with regards to the company’s expansion application since late last year.
To report pollution to EPA: 1300 372 842.