Trek for trash’s big tag

COUN­CIL­LORS OFF TO EUROPE

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Nick Houghton

RATEPAY­ERS ARE set to pick up the bill so Black­town Coun­cil can send a del­e­ga­tion to Europe on a $50,000 trip.

Coun­cil­lors last week ap­proved the trip to Eng­land, Swe­den and France for tech­ni­cal in­spec­tions of five energy waste fa­cil­i­ties sim­i­lar to a pro­posed in­cin­er­a­tor for Eastern Creek – which the coun­cil op­posed.

The in­cin­er­a­tor pro­posed by waste man­age­ment com­pany Dial-a-Dump raised con­cerns among the coun­cil­lors in July af­ter 12 is­sues were iden­ti­fied in an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact state­ment.

The del­e­ga­tion – of three coun­cil staffers and the mayor or a coun­cil­lor – will use the trip to gather in­for­ma­tion in Europe to get a bet­ter idea of energy-towaste in­cin­er­a­tors.

Lib­eral coun­cil­lor Len Robin­son was out­raged.

“What are we go­ing to learn from this trip which we sim­ply can’t get from a tele­phone hook-up or con­fer­ence call?” he said. “It’s a waste of money. “This is a fa­cil­ity which we have op­posed and we are now send­ing peo­ple around the world to learn more about it. It’s ridicu­lous.”

A coun­cil pro­posal for the trip was ear­marked for $9000 per per­son but also stated “there is no bud­get for this”.

Five fa­cil­i­ties have been ear­marked for the fact-find­ing trip in­clud­ing Manch­ester, Leeds, Lon­don, Paris and Malmo in Swe­den.

Black­town Mayor Stephen Bali de­fended the trip and said the ben­e­fits out­weighed the costs.

“We need to learn first­hand from ex­perts who have ex­ten­sive knowl­edge and un­for­tu­nately that is not avail­able in Aus­tralia,’’ he said.

“If we could find some­one in Aus­tralia with the re­quired knowl­edge, there would be no need to travel to Europe.

“Dial-a-Dump have pro­posed a 100m-high smoke stack. We want to know ex­actly what we are deal­ing with be­fore we … build a struc­ture of this mag­ni­tude.

“In only 10 days, the del­e­ga­tion will visit five fa­cil­i­ties in three coun­tries. It is not a jun­ket.’’

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