Adjournment Matters No 1022
59 Parliament First Session
Asked: 25 November 2020


MR FINN — To ask the Minister for Workplace Safety (for the Minister for Planning): 

I wish to raise a matter on the adjournment this evening for the attention of the Minister for Planning. Can I just say to the minister that the level of disgust, the level of anger with his decision earlier this week to approve the dumping of toxic soil in Ravenhall, and in Bacchus Marsh as well, is through the roof. The anger is white-hot throughout the western suburbs of Melbourne, and I can assure you the people of Sunbury and Bulla are watching very, very closely to see what will happen in the days ahead. They understand, and we are hearing from sources close to the minister’s office, I gather, that Sunbury is going to cop it as well, which is just absolutely staggering. These people have bought homes, and I am talking about people in Caroline Springs, in Deer Park, in areas surrounding Ravenhall, people in Sunbury, in Bulla. Sunbury is about to explode in terms of population, about to double its size, and here we are with the potential of toxic soil being dumped just a few hundred metres from new homes. It is just deplorable, and I cannot understand what the minister was thinking when he approved that. That is what I would like to know tonight, because what I am doing is inviting the minister to join me in the western suburbs at a public meeting to tell the people of Caroline Springs, Deer Park and surrounds, and the people of Sunbury if indeed he goes down that path, directly why he has approved this carcinogenic toxic soil to be dumped in their neighbourhood. They have a right to know.

It is a bit like the debate we had earlier over the taxidrivers. They have done nothing wrong—apart from raise their families, pay their taxes and work hard—and all of a sudden we find here a minister, who probably would not even know where Ravenhall or Bulla or Sunbury are, declaring that those are the areas that will get this very dangerous, poisonous toxic soil. It is deplorable, it is despicable and it is something that I have to say as a representative of the western suburbs just sickens me to my stomach. It is horrendous what the minister has done. This is a shocking decision, an appalling decision. I am asking the minister to accompany me, to look those people in the eye and to tell them why they must carry the weight of this poisonous toxic soil.

Answered: 25 May 2021

The West Gate Tunnel Project is a state significant infrastructure project, and the disposal of spoil from the project must be managed appropriately. I acknowledge your concerns about the use of the Ravenhall, Maddingley Brown Coal and Hi-Quality Group sites for this purpose and appreciate that there are environmental, social and economic issues that require careful consideration.

On 29 March 2021, I carefully considered the matters that you raised and the comments of the council, key stakeholders and the community and I decided to amend the Hume Planning Scheme to allow the use and development of a spoil processing facility at the Hi-Quality Bulla site for West Gate Tunnel spoil.

I decided to exempt myself from the requirements of sections 17, 18 and 19 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 as I consider that the interests of Victoria make such an exemption appropriate; and I consider that compliance with the requirements is not warranted.

I formed that view as:

  • The views of relevant third parties who may be materially affected by the amendment are reasonably well known and have been considered during the preparation of the amendment.
  • Further notification and consultation would be unlikely to result in any substantive changes to the amendment.
  • The delivery of the West Gate Tunnel project will contribute to state significant improvements across the freeway network, improve freight efficiency and safety, and make significant amenity improvements within the road network and residential areas currently affected by truck traffic. The West Gate Tunnel project will also generate substantial economic activity and jobs for Victorians.

The site must comply with the conditions in the planning approval, the requirements of the Environment Protection Authority approvals and any other necessary approvals such as cultural heritage and be awarded a tender for the spoil to be received. The final decision on whether the Hi-Quality site will receive the spoil will be made by the CPB John Holland following a competitive tender process.


Minister for Planning