Energy from waste
Australian Paper is seeking approval to build a $600 million ‘energy from waste’ plant at Maryvale, burning domestic and industrial waste mainly from Melbourne. This is a major project that dramatically increases the company’s investment in the Maryvale site. By definition it is not a stand alone proposal. It would be integrated into the existing facility and implies that it will continue operating for at least another 25 years. The company would not make such an investment without assurances from government, in particular about access to wood and fibre.
Logging in Victoria’s ash forests and across all of Victoria’s native forests is facing a crisis driven largely by the commitments to the Maryvale mills, exacerbated by fire. Logging is likely to cause ecosystem collapse. It cannot continue.
Government and industry have discussed Maryvale’s future. In March 2017, the government and the company canvassed plans including ‘Project Pivot’, a turnaround plan for the Maryvale mills, and ‘Vision 2019’, a plan for advanced bio manufacturing at Maryvale. The Victorian government has flagged a long term agreement about the future of the Maryvale mills. It has not been announced.
In June 2017 the Victorian and Commonwealth governments each contributed $2.5 million to a $7.5 million feasibility study due for completion in June 2018. It has not been published.
The Planning Minister decided in May 2018 that an Environmental Effects Statement (EES) would not be required for the incinerator, only a works approval. He did not consider any of the wider plans or impacts of keeping the Maryvale mills going for another 25+ years.
Australian Paper should publish its publicly funded feasibility study and come clean about what it is actually planning for Maryvale. The entire plan should be referred for environmental assessment.