Joint Statement on New Environmental Protection Law

12 June 2024

The Members for Bundamba, Jordan and Ipswich have welcomed the passing of legislation in State Parliament giving the environmental regulator stronger powers to deal with issues such as odour.


The additional tools and stronger penalties provided to the regulator through the Environmental Protection (Powers and Penalties) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024 were born out of odour issues in the Swanbank area but will apply statewide.


“Companies doing the wrong thing and causing an environmental nuisance, like odour, and impacting our local residential communities need to be held to account,” Member for Bundamba Minister Lance McCallum said.


“As local members, we have been campaigning on behalf of our communities for greater powers for the regulator to deal with odours caused by companies, and today the Miles Government has delivered.


“It is our expectation that the regulator will use these additional powers and stronger penalties in our local area which continues to suffer from odour issues caused by nearby composting businesses–it’s unacceptable and it needs to stop.”


The origin of this Bill can be traced back to the floods of 2022 which exacerbated odour issues coming from waste facilities.


At the time, the Labor Government engaged retired Environment and Planning Court judge Richard Jones and former Senior Crown Prosecutor Barrister Susan Hedge to review the powers and penalties under the Environmental Protection Act 1994.


“The review made 18 recommendations, all of which were supported or supported in-principle by our Labor Government,” Member for Jordan Charis Mullen said.


“Since then, the government has gone about implementing the recommendations. The Bill which passed State Parliament today finalises the government’s response to the review.


“The updated laws now place greater emphasis on human health, wellbeing, and safety within the legislation, as well as clarifying what constitutes an environmental nuisance and serious environmental harm.”


Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said the government continued to take the odour issues in Swanbank and surrounding suburbs seriously and continued to work to address the issues.


“Consultation closes this week on draft new regulations which would enable the regulator to require composting facilities near residential zones receiving highly odorous waste to have in-vessel or enclosed processing,” Ms Howard said.


“These regulations and the additional tools and stronger penalties passed in Parliament this week are part of our five-point action plan to address the issues our community is facing.


“The plan also includes increased compliance activities, enhanced community engagement and expansion of air monitoring which are ongoing.”