Draft law throws a wet towel over Matraville paper mill plan to burn waste

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Planning & Development
The Opal Paper Mill in Matraville.

Plans by the Opal papermill in Matraville to burn truckloads of waste to power their operations may have been snuffed out before they’ve even been formally submitted, after a passionate community campaign.

Following significant community angst, the NSW EPA has released draft regulations for community consultation that would prohibit industries in the Sydney basin from using waste to energy technology if they’re already using more environmentally friendly fuel sources. The EPA has confirmed this would mean the Matraville proposal would be ineligible.

The Opal paper mill currently uses natural gas to power their plant – which is defined in the Regulation as a more environmentally friendly fuel than burning waste.

Randwick Mayor Dylan Parker was relieved that the draft regulation has finally been released but was apprehensive until it became law. Randwick Council is also reviewing the draft clauses to ensure that they do what they are intended to do.

“The proposed Matraville incinerator has been a dark cloud hanging over our community for three years. It shouldn’t have come to the community having to fight like this for the government to listen.

“The draft regulation is a ray of hope for residents concerned about living next to a commercial incinerator spewing out emissions. It must not be watered down.

“The Matraville incinerator is a bad proposal. The community has known it from day one. It appears we are finally dragging the Government into the 21st century by them considering a ban.

“Burning waste next to people’s homes just doesn’t make sense. We aren’t NIMBY’s. Locals already live next to a port, an airport and heavy industrial land. But this is too much.

“These regulations are a step in the right direction but our community is holding our breath until they become law.

“I encourage everyone concerned about the incinerator proposal to read the draft regulation and to make a submission to the EPA urging them not to weaken them.” Randwick Mayor Dylan Parker said.

What Suez and Opal propose at Matraville.

Randwick Council has been opposed to the Matraville incinerator since 2019 when a scoping study was lodged with the NSW Government for consideration. See details on NSW Government Major Projects page. The community has been bracing for environmental impact statement (EIS) to be lodged to formally progress the project.

Council has been working with the community to oppose the plans which has included supporting the Matraville Precinct and No More Incinerators group, printing flyers, posters and producing videos and communication material alerting people to the proposal.

More information about Council’s actions can be found on Council’s eastern suburbs incinerator webpage.

To read the draft regulations and make a submission visit the EPA consultation website on the Draft Energy from Waste Amendment Regulation 2021:

Energy from Waste Regulation NSW EPA Consultation open until 5pm Sunday 20 March 2022

For more information about the regulations contact NSW EPA on 131 555 or email

Last Updated: 23 March 2022
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