20 Jul 2010 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Urban Development and Planning a question regarding the EPA's standard for production and use of waste-derived fill

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: For the benefit of honourable members, the EPA released a policy bearing that title in January 2010. It is a document of 75 pages and it changes what has commonly been referred to as 'clean fill' to 'waste-derived fill'. So, according to the policy, clean fill is now categorised as a stream of waste.

The policy states that for excavation of more than 100 tonnes of soil from a site where no potentially contaminating activity has occurred (which the policy acknowledges is a low risk site) where 'such work is usually conducted by commercial operators...sampling and assessment is recommended to ensure this is the case'. The policy lists 34 chemical substances to test for what we would commonly call on-site soil excavation and 82 chemical substances for material which is derived from processing, construction and demolition waste which has had contaminants removed. Obtaining EPA approval for use of the fill will require a suitably qualified consultant or a site contaminant auditor.

A list of the organisations which were consulted on the draft policy prior to the final policy's publication in January does not include the following organisations: Civil Contractors Federation, Urban Development Institute, Property Council, Master Builders Association or Housing Industry Association. The CCF has estimated that for an excavation job for, for instance, a swimming pool, which would exceed 100 tonnes, the new regime will add $3,000 to the cost of the project because of the testing requirements and that the policy could add 20 per cent to the cost of developing a block in a brownfield subdivision. My questions to the minister are:

1. Has he been made aware that this policy represents a major change in the way that clean fill is managed?

2. Is he aware of the concerns of the construction industry in relation to this new policy?

3. Does he share their concerns that the policy will delay subdivision approvals and add considerable cost to development projects in this state?

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY (Minister for Mineral Resources Development, Minister for Urban Development and Planning, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister Assisting the Premier in Public Sector Management) (14:34): The EPA standards are really matters for my colleague the Minister for Environment and Conservation in another place, and I will refer the question to him particularly in relation to those matters about who is consulted. Obviously any representations from civil contractors and others would be to the appropriate minister.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

In reply to the Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (20 July 2010).

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister for the City of Adelaide): The Minister for Environment and Conservation has been advised that:

1. The requirements to manage, what has commonly been referred to as 'clean fill' as outlined in the EPA's Standard for Production and Use of Waste Derived Fill (the Standard), have been in place since 1997. 'Clean fill' has always been classified as a waste and since 2003, referred to as 'waste fill' in EPA legislation. This new Standard now enables waste to become a product known as 'waste derived fill'.

2. The EPA have advised that they undertook comprehensive consultation with industry and the community in relation to the draft standard, including with the Civil Contractors Federation and Master Builders Association. The issues of costs and approval timeframes associated with the Standard were raised during the consultation process and these are being addressed by the EPA.

3. The EPA have also advised they are working to provide the Department of Planning and Local Government with guiding documents. This will ensure that requirements outlined in the Standard are highlighted early in the planning process, to allow appropriate forward planning and to alleviate unnecessary delays in the development approval process.