A state government MP is calling for an investigation into a Brooklyn tip operator given a $500,000 taxpayer-funded cheque to improve its waste processing.
The call comes after Western Land Reclamation, operated by Sunshine Groupe, was criticised for poor landfill management practices by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal following proceedings initiated by the Environment Protection Authority.
“WLR’s practices have not demonstrated an adequate regard to either the licence conditions or to industry accepted standard landfill management practices in Victoria,” VCAT stated in its decision to amend the tip’s licence.
Speaking in state Parliament last week, Williamstown MP Wade Noonan called for an audit on $500,000 received by the Sunshine Groupe in 2012-13.
Mr Noonan said the previous Liberal government had “handed a Sunshine Groupe subsidiary, Action Recovery and Recycling in Brooklyn, a taxpayer-funded cheque for $500,000 to improve their processing”.
He said he would “write to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and request that a full regulatory audit be conducted on this business and investigate whether the $500,000 was appropriately spent”.
EPA chief executive Nial Finegan said WLR had routinely appealed against the environmental watchdog’s attempts to make licence amendments, enforce remedial notices and penalty infringements.
The Sunshine Groupe’s Tom and Christian Buxton told Star Weekly they would not appeal the latest VCAT decision.
When asked for comment, they forwarded their letter sent to Mr Noonan dated February 22, 2018, and declined to make any further comment.
“We work closely with the Environment Protection Authority and are acutely aware of our responsibilities when it comes to our near neighbours – being residents and businesses and, always, respecting the environment,” the letter stated.
“The $500,000 we received from the state government grant you also referred to has been added to over $8,500,000 the Sunshine Groupe has invested to create a state-of-the-art facility to process and recycle commercial and industrial waste.”