OBJECTORS to a composting plant flagged for Howlong have been told there is no need for it to be approved before Federation Council’s first election in September.
NSW Opposition local government spokesman Peter Primrose made the claim during a 90-minute meeting with the Howlong Community Committee.
The committee is leading a campaign against waste firm Cleanaway setting up a regional composting centre at Howlong.
A Joint Regional Planning Panel will be required to determine whether it proceeds, but a hearing date is yet to be set.
“There’s nothing requiring this decision to be made before September, the earth is not going to stop turning,” Mr Primrose said.
“There’s a real push (across NSW) to get unpopular things through before September.
“I just think that’s outrageous, it’s contrary to what people were told and the guidelines before administrators began.
“We were specifically advised very controversial decisions would be made by councils.
“These decisions have to be made locally and by democratically-elected councils.”
Committee chairman Stuart Sizer told Mr Primrose that his group had drawn $30,000 in donations to fight the compost plan, with much of it to be used for technical reports.
Sitting against windows at the Howlong golf club meeting room were placards to be placed around the Murray River town.
Bearing slogans – No pong for Howlong, Compost yes, in town no and No consultation no planning that’s rubbish – the 60 signs will appear from this week.
“They’re not saying the town is doomed, it’s just emphasising we haven’t been consulted properly,” Mr Sizer said.
Fellow committee member Mark Shields said Cleanaway had been deliberately omitted from the signs.
“It’s not about trying to spear someone, it’s about trying to educate someone,” Mr Shields said.
Mr Primrose advised the committee to seek publicity through Sydney talkback radio, particularly hosts such as Alan Jones, because the NSW Government responded to metropolitan media interest.
“Keep faxing a letter to the various producers of the Sydney shock jocks,” Mr Primrose said.
“Just get it to them and see what bites it gets you.”