New State Government plan casts doubt over Matraville Incinerator viability

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Mayor Danny Said is opposed to building an incinerator n Matraville.

A new State Government Energy from Waste Infrastructure Plan that bans energy from waste projects in the Sydney basin has thrown a major roadblock in the way of a proposal for an incinerator at a paper mill in Matraville in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

SUEZ and Opal plan to build a waste to energy facility to power the paper mill with a 60m high stack that would burn 165,000 tonnes of rubbish a year just 130 metres from homes.

But the NSW Government plan released today, 10 September 2021, proposes to ban waste to energy facilities in the Sydney basin, unless they’re replacing the use of coal or petroleum-based fuels at an industrial site.

The report says there is a need to ‘avoid the exposure of high population centres in NSW to new sources of air emissions’ and that populations can still experience health impacts when emissions are below the national standards ‘and for some common air pollutants, there is no safe threshold of impact’.

In the case of the Opal Matraville Paper Mill, the facility already uses natural gas to power the plant which is typically regarded as a cleaner fuel source than burning coal or waste.

"This new plan provides a flicker of hope for worried Matraville residents and everyone in the eastern suburbs who is concerned about the plan to build an incinerator," says Randwick Mayor Danny Said.

"What this State Government plan does is provide a bit more certainty for communities about where you can and can't build these types of facilities.

"While it doesn't rule out building facilities in Sydney, any proposal would require consideration of the current fuel type used and whether replacing that with energy produced from incineration is a better environmental outcome.

"My reading of this plan is that it says if you're already using an energy source such as natural gas, why would you switch to a worse environmental technology such as waste to energy?

“While it’s too early to celebrate, this certainly puts a big question mark over the proposal,” says Randwick Mayor Danny Said.

The associated regulations are expected to be released for public exhibition in the coming months. You can read the Energy from Waste Infrastructure Plan on the EPA website.

Media enquiries:
Chelsea Hunter – 0419 694 983 or
Joshua Hay – 0402 351 459 or

The Pollak family from Matraville are among thousands who will be affected.

What Suez and Opal propose at Matraville.

Source: Suez Scoping Report 2 Sept 2019, page (i), p20, p ii)

Map showing population located near incinerator.

Source: Randwick City Council GIS Department. Estimated population based on SA1 boundaries.

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