The Anglican Bishop of Canberra/Goulburn says Tarago and district residents deserve to have their fair say on a proposed waste to energy plant nearby.
Bishop Mark Short visited the town on Saturday, October 23 to hear people's concerns about Veolia Environmental Services' planned $600 million waste to energy facility at the Woodlawn eco-precinct.
The community and Goulburn Mulwaree Council are opposing the development, arguing Sydney must look after its own waste rather than transporting it to the regions. They also have a multitude of other concerns, including impacts on air quality, human health, biodiversity, amenity, agriculture, roads and more.
The facility would treat up to 380,000 tonnes of Sydney's feedstock, municipal residual, commercial and industrial waste annually and generate up to 39 megawatts of electricity.
"This listening tour was about expressing the church's support for any initiative that gives the community a say on something that will impact their amenity in the future," Bishop Short said.
"Tarago residents said they felt they were doing their fair share in responding to waste issues and it was a concern that on top of that an incinerator could be located nearby and potentially affect their health and wellbeing.
"It is a small town and it affects the way they interact with the community and environment. People felt it was out of sympathy with their vision."
Bishop Short said the smell wafting over Tarago from Veolia's bioreactor on the day highlighted the community's concerns.
The company has previously told The Post that it was implementing further measures to control odour, following EPA intervention. CEO and managing director Richard Kirkman has also said that the waste to energy plant would better manage odour by sucking air into the process.
Asked why the church was taking an interest in the issue, Bishop Short said it wanted to encourage "strong and healthy communities.
"It has economic and lifestyle components and we believe communities should have a say in matters that impact their future."
He aired similar thoughts about Jerrara Power's proposal in July.
Up to 20 people, including representatives of the Tarago and District Progress Association Inc, attended at short notice.
In his first visit outside the ACT since COVID restrictions lifted, the bishop also met religious and community leaders, including Mayor Bob Kirk at Saint Nicholas Church, North Goulburn.
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