Waste and Recycling Management - $10 million bail-out

27 Aug 2019

The SPEAKER: Order! When the house comes to order—with the assistance of the Premier. Order!

Mr MORRIS: Thank you, Speaker. My question is to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. At a meeting in February 2018 SKM pleaded with the minister for safe
and temporary storage of recycling material. Why didn’t the minister act on this plea 18 months ago?


Ms D’AMBROSIO (Mill Park—Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes) (12:14): I thank the member for his question. I find it difficult to reconcile two parts of that question, and those are SKM and safety. I really find it hard to bring those two things together, frankly, after the Coolaroo fire. Members interjecting.


The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Warrandyte has been warned.


Ms D’AMBROSIO: Let us remember who is responsible for the assets that are privately owned.

That is SKM. That is their responsibility to comply with all of the safety regulations that either come from the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) or indeed WorkSafe Victoria or the CFA, MFB or local government. That is their responsibility. They made the decisions that they took, and they are now living with the consequences of that.


Mr MORRIS (Mornington) (12:15): Since seeking the minister’s help with these stockpiles—help which was denied—SKM has had two further fires at its facilities: at nCoolaroo on 8 July 2018 and at Laverton North on 9 July. Given the risk to public health and public safety, why did the minister ignore the danger of these stockpiles?


Ms D’AMBROSIO (Mill Park—Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes) (12:15): I thank the member for the supplementary question, and it is precisely for these reasons that we have given additional powers to the EPA and additional resources to crack down on dodgy recycling businesses. This is the reality of the situation. Community safety comes first and foremost for our government. That is why the actions of the EPA have been taken to precisely look after the interests and the health of our community, and we will not compromise on safety.