The shocking Four Corners exposé of the failings of the waste management industry in Australia aired on the ABC last night comes as little surprise to the Southern Beaches Conservation Society (SBCS), who have been raising concerns about waste management practices in Tasmania for years.

“Inappropriate infrastructure development, dodgy practices, lack of strategic oversight, questionable funding arrangements and complete disregard for community concerns are all very familiar topics to us,” says SBCS President Peter Derkley.

“Questions need to be asked of our local and state governments as to whether Tasmania’s waste and recyclables are being managed responsibly? Can we be reassured that Tasmanian waste is not contributing to the problems outlined in the Four Corners report?”

SBCS has been highly vocal in raising concerns specifically in regards to the development of a controlled waste Category C Cell at the Copping Landfill Site, which is jointly owned and managed by Tasman, Sorell, Kingborough and Clarence Councils through Southern Waste Solutions (SWS).

The fact that SWS has forged ahead with the development of the C Cell regardless of ongoing community opposition and is yet to secure a major customer to use the facility raises obvious doubts over its viability and why such a multi-million dollar piece of infrastructure was built in the first place.

The C Cell received $2million in funding from the State Government; $1.4million in funding from Clarence Council; and a further $2.4million interest free loan from Clarence Council, so the public has the right to know why such significant funding was allocated to this infrastructure development in the absence of a clear business case and before any major customers for the facility had been secured.

“We estimate Tasmania’s recycling costs upwards of $10million a year for curb side recycling, and we welcome the Four Corners report lifting the lid on the waste management industry which is largely overlooked. The public needs to start asking questions of local and state governments about how their waste is managed and demanding that recycling is encouraged and incentivized as much as possible” said Mr Derkley.

In the lead up to a State Government election, SBCS is calling on all major parties to develop a statewide waste management policy to ensure that Tasmania’s waste management industry is urgently addressed to ensure that as much waste is diverted from landfill as possible.