Hi-Quality waste landfill plant Bulla.

Bulla waste-to-energy plant, what your representatives say…

Updated with quotes from Josh Bull MP and Hi-Quality.

Ahead of Hi-Quality‘s first online community forum, where the firm will outline its vision for a waste-to-energy plant in Bulla, SunburyLife contacted local Hume City Council representatives, and MP Josh Bull, for their views on the proposal.

The waste management firm’s plan came to light following a leaflet drop across Sunbury last week. It has yet to submit a planning application to the council.

Waste-to-energy plants burn rubbish to create electricity and heat. These plants can provide heat to homes by way of a network of underground water pipes – literally pumping hot water from the plant to radiators inside homes. They also use the heat to create steam to power turbines that generate electricity.

Cllr Jack Medcraft supports Hi-Quality’s waste-to-energy proposal, saying he is disappointed a similar plan by ENRGX in Craigieburn was refused permission in 2020. Back then the city mayor was Cllr Carly Moore.

Medcraft says: “The [ENRGX] proposal fell flat because so many people stood up and carried on about how bad it was going to be – without knowing exactly what it is.”

Hume City Councillor Jack Medcraft.
Cllr Jack Medcraft.

He points to the Issy-les-Moulineau waste-to-energy plant in Paris as a good example of what can be done.

Medcraft says: “Waste-to-energy plants mean less landfill, and that gets rid of the methane gas associated with them. It’s safe for the environment…It’s a win-win situation.

“There are only two forms of energy we have to seriously consider; waste-to-energy because of the pluses, and with the amount of uranium we have in Australia – nuclear power – that’s the cleanest form of energy.

“But waste-to-energy will be the way of the future.”

While specific details about Hi-Quality’s plans have not yet been made public, Medcraft expects its proposed incinerator will be “down at the bottom of the hill, you wouldn’t see it”, and that “you’d be lucky to see the chimney that’s going to be there”.

Sunbury councillor Trevor Dance.
Cllr Trevor Dance.

Cllr Trevor Dance said: “I asked council late last year and they knew nothing about. I have now, last week after these brochures arrived, asked for more information from council. In my view it’s rather poor council was not informed of the proposed agenda.”

Josh Bull MP says: “I understand Hi-Quality may be considering a waste to energy proposal. However, given no formal licence or application has been applied for I have no further details on the plan.

“Seeking community feedback on such a proposal would be standard practice for any commercial operation and as such I understand this is why a number of community information sessions have been planned, I would encourage you to attend any of these if you can.”

Councillor Jarrod Bell, Sunbury.
Cllr Jarrod Bell.

Cllr Jarrod Bell did not respond when approached for comment.

A spokesperson for Hi-Quality says: “Applications for the proposed facilities will go to a range of regulators and decision-making bodies. Hi-Quality has not submitted any applications at this stage.

“To inform the applications being prepared, Hi-Quality is undertaking engagement to provide more details and understand community and stakeholder views. This includes community and adjoining landholders, as well as EPA Victoria, relevant government departments, and Hume City Council, all of whom Hi-Quality has spoken with.”

In October 2023 Hi-Quality applied to the EPA for a development license so it could process fill material and construction waste for reuse at its Bulla plant.

In July 2023 EPA Victoria laid 33 charges against Hi-Quality Quarry Products in relation to its Bulla landfill operation. The hearing is down for 6 March at Broadmeadows Magistrates Court (previously 17 August 2023). The EPA does not have an active application from the firm for a waste-to-energy project.

Hi-Quality has hired a top reputation management firm – SenateSHJ – to oversee its planned waste-to-energy online community forums on 6, 14, and 22 February.

Why councillors voted down the ENRGX Craigieburn waste-to-energy plant in August 2020 – PDF download here (source here).

A promotional video produced by Hi-Quality Group for the Sunbury Eco-Hub waste management facility.
A leaflet published by Hi-Quality about its proposed waste-to-energy plans for Bulla.
A leaflet published by Hi-Quality about its proposed waste-to-energy plans for Bulla.