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Swanbank company fined over breaches to Environmental Protection Act

November 13, 2023 7:43 am in by
Photo: Ipswich City Council.

Three infringement notices have been issued to a company operating in the Swanbank Industrial Area over breaches of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld).

On 30 October 2023, the Department of Environment and Science (DES) issued the company with three separate infringement notices of $15,480 each, for breaches including contravening a condition of an environmental authority and conducting certain activities without being authorised.

This enforcement action follows a substantial increase in compliance activity by DES of waste and composting facilities in the Swanbank area since June 2023, following a rise in odour complaints being received from the community.

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While odour remains a key focus in the Swanbank area, this enforcement action arose from increased compliance activity and does not specifically relate to odour issues.

Our investigations into odour issues are progressing, and our investigators are collecting statements from community members regarding odour nuisance reports, which may be used in future court proceedings.

We will continue to conduct frequent inspections of operators in the Swanbank area to monitor compliance with environmental laws. As the environmental regulator, DES takes environmental offences seriously and will continue to take strong enforcement action, including court action against any operator who is found to be breaking the law.

We are listening to the concerns of the community and actively considering further options for legislative change to strengthen the regulations that govern these types of facilities.

This includes bringing forward new regulation that would require all existing organics facilities near residential areas to transition to fully enclosed facilities within a relatively short timeframe, which the Minister has publicly committed to.

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Separately, earlier this month, the Planning and Environment Court dismissed our application to strike out an appeal by a Swanbank company against DES’ refusal to approve an amendment to its transitional environmental program.

We remain committed to using all options available under the legislation to address ongoing odour issues for the local community.

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