Fires a concern for council


Tara Murray

Brimbank council says it shares residents’ concerns about the number of industrial and tip fires occurring in Melbourne’s west.

Since October there have been at least eight factory, waste management or tip fires across the west, with the most recent at Cleanaway in Brooklyn late last month.

Former LeadWest chief executive Craig Rowley and former state MLC member Colleen Hartland last week called for action to stop these fires from occurring.

Brimbank city development director Kelvin Walsh said the council had been calling for action for some time.

“Brimbank council shares the community’s concern about industrial or tip fires in Melbourne’s west, including the ongoing Kealba Landfill hot spots and the need for better air quality monitoring at the landfill site,” he said.

“These issues are impacting on the wellbeing of the local community and the environment, and a solution needs to be found by the landfill operator at the earliest.”

Mr Walsh said the council has called on Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio to initiate an independent investigation into the EPA’s management of the ongoing spot fires at Kealba Landfill.

“We want the investigation to look into the effectiveness of the remediation response, the health impacts of the fires on the surrounding communities, and provide an independent analysis of air quality.”

Mr Walsh said the council is also concerned about the air quality in Brimbank and actively seeks to ensure that sites employ measures to reduce dust emissions where possible.

“Planning permits issued over recent years for sites where activities are not all contained within a building generally include requirements for construction management plans and environmental management plans, with a particular focus on reducing dust emissions from the site.

“Unfortunately some of the older “legacy sites” are not subject to these conditions which makes enforcement more difficult.

“Council also has a close working relationship with the EPA through the OPLE program [Officer for the Protection of the Local Environment] and has had good success in achieving improvements on several sites by using a multi-pronged approach through both agencies.”

He said the introduction of the Environment Protection Act should assist in helping reduce dust emissions.