Yass Valley Council took significant steps in resolving the issue of fill dumping from ACT companies in our region at the end of June.

“The Draft Filing Policy is about the requirements for getting development consent for the filling of land. This has come about due to the significant amounts of soil that are being dumped out of the ACT into our local government area,” said Director of Planning and Environment, Julie Rogers.

The revised policy focuses on ensuring there are more conditions for dumpers to abide by, and Julie explained that premise in more detail.

“The main changes are about essentially outlining when and where you need development consent for filling and providing more detail around that.”

“Also, providing more detail around what is required to be submitted to Council with the development application and detailing the types of conditions needed for development consent,” said Julie.

With more rules involving legal dumping, one could assume that illegal dumping, already prevalent in the region, could become even more appealing to these companies. However, Julie revealed Council has put aside funding for two compliance officers in the next financial year. This is being done in the hope of mitigating this risk and to potentially catch illegal dumpers.

“I think it’s always tempting and something people will do, but Council’s now taking more of a whole of issue approach to the problem. So we have this policy but we’ve also just put our heavy haulage contributions plan on public exhibition.”

“Council’s also approved in the operational plan for this financial year, a provision for two compliance officers. So, rather than just trying to get people to get development consent, it’s going to be a whole of issue approach to the problem.”

“Those positions will be permanent positions within Council and I suspect they will be ongoing, with their primary focus initially being on this filling issue out of the ACT,” she said.

The Heavy Haulage Contributions Plan being placed on public exhibition will also provide s source of revenue for Council.

“That relates essentially to contributions being paid for the impact of large trucks on our roads.”

“How much they pay depends on the type of truck that’s using the road and the type of road that it’s going on,” said Julie.

Julie acknowledges that the matter is far from resolved and believes cross-border communication will be essential moving forward.

“We are doing some advocacy through the General Manager and the Mayor and we’re also going to participate in the ACT and NSW cross border illegal waste dumping program. We’re doing some work there on a coordinated response from ourselves, Queanbeyan Council, the ACT Government and the NSW State Government,” she said.

Mayor Rowena Abbey said that Council is looking to work closely with the relevant departments and ACT Chief Minister to develop strategies and legislation that will help manage what is an increasing issue for the area.

If you witness illegal dumping or have concerns about dumping occurring near you make contact with Yass Valley Council by calling their office at 02 6226 1477 or email Council@yass.nsw.gov.au.

Max O’Driscoll