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TRUCKIN’ HELL

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Soil from the tunnel project is being proposed to come to Maddingley. How contaminated is it? Photo - westgatetunnelproject.vic.gov.au

Prepare for two-years of trucks – 460 movements a day
and contaminated soil

By Kate Taylor

The state government is rushing a decision that could give Bacchus Marsh the reputation of ‘the place with the toxic dump’ according to Moorabool Mayor David Edwards.
The state government is considering dumping soil contaminated with PFAS and asbestos on the Maddingley Brown Coal (MBC) property.
The Moorabool News asked Cr Edwards if he would be happy to comment on the idea that, with millions of dollars in heavy machinery sitting dormant at the West Gate Tunnel project every day, the state government is rushing to find a place to put the contaminated soil being removed, so that the project stops ‘bleeding’ money.
“Absolutely. I’m more than happy to comment. Clearly the government or Transurban need a decision made quickly, otherwise it’s costing them millions of dollars. But we want to be assured that any decision that’s made has all the appropriate rigors and processes in place,” he said.
“Our first priority is making sure the community is safe, and our second priority is to make sure there is no cost to the community. We want to make sure Moorabool doesn’t lose – jobs and businesses – this will tarnish the reputation of our town if there’s a toxic dump here.”
His comments came hot on the heels of a briefing between West Gate Tunnel project consortium members, including contractor Transurban and Maddingley Brown Coal, which Cr Edwards said was clearly, and disappointingly, just a briefing and not actual consultation.
He said that while it was confirmed that the plan is to bring in contaminated soil, then test it, then have some removed to a more appropriate site, “not one single study or plan, no documents at all, were provided to council.”
East Ward Councillor Tonia Dudzik took to Facebook following the meeting.
“The following was stated. The State Government are the owners of the project. It will take two years. 230 truck movements each way per day (460 a day.) Untested soil will be transported to Maddingley. It will be tested up to 20 days later to determine what category of spoil it is. The application has been sent to the minister for approval. They are bypassing Council. Council will not decide the application. Transurban did not agree to provide Council with a copy of the application and supporting reports. We have not seen a traffic study or an environmental impact study on this project. Transurban and Maddingley Brown Coal did not agree to attend the Public Community Meeting scheduled for Tuesday 25 February at 7 pm.”
MBC needs the Minister to change and sign off its permit conditions because currently, the site cannot have contaminated soil let in the gate.
Newly elected Woodlands Ward Councillor Lawry Borgelt also took to Facebook to voice concerns.
“As of right now, Transurban has not considered undertaking a net community benefit investigation or report for Moorabool residents, if Westgate tunnel soil were to be dumped here. Nor are they willing to share their reports with council. or even come to the meeting on Tuesday,” Cr Borgelt posted.
Cr Edwards confirmed the proposal will be put directly to the Minister, cutting council out of the process entirely – not that council could put together a submission as it stands.
“Without council having been given access to the technical reports, we can only raise our concern – we can’t form an informed position. So, in other words, how do we know if it’s safe or not? Without the data we have no idea what the truth is?”

** A public community meeting will be held tonight, Tuesday 25 February at 7pm in the Bacchus Marsh Public Hall.

Read more on page 3 of 25 February 2020 edition.

Photos – thewestgatetunnelproject.vic.gov.au