Trek for trash’s big tag
COUNCILLORS OFF TO EUROPE
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.’’