Like any local manufacturing business, Australian Paper is facing challenges. We’re determined to face these efficiently and sensitively by harnessing innovative, proven technologies. One of our immediate priorities is to stabilise our costs and one of the most significant focus areas is energy. Despite being Victoria’s largest generator of baseload renewable energy, we are the largest industrial user of natural gas in Victoria and also use significant quantities of coal-fired electricity. Like any other business or household in Australia, we are exposed to surges in energy prices and uncertainty of supply.
On Wednesday 25 July, Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) conducted a section 20b Community Conference in Traralgon to discuss Australian Paper’s proposed Energy from Waste project. This public session was an important step in the EPA’s consultation process on our proposed Energy from Waste works approval application, which is the first in Victoria for a large-scale facility using Municipal Solid Waste (MSW).
More than 60 community members, including local residents, representatives from not-for-profit organisations and businesses gathered to discuss the proposed Energy from Waste works application. The session was independently chaired and began by hearing the views of independent speakers, followed by focused round-table discussions.
Each table had an assigned discussion topic based on submission themes and was chaired by an EPA representative.
The roundtables allowed attendees to exchange views and delve into submission themes. Each EPA table host then provided the room with a ‘snapshot’ from the discussions. The three hour session concluded with a joint panel so that members from EPA, Australian Paper and Jacobs could answer questions from the audience.
The independent chair will now prepare a report detailing key issues and possible solutions raised in written submissions and at the Conference. The report will be made available on 10 August on the Engage Victoria website. The report will be used by the EPA to inform its decision on whether or not to issue the works approval applications.
Australian Paper would like thank the community for their continued interest in our proposed project. We encourage the public to visit our Energy for Waste Information Centre at 126 George Street, Morwell. The Information Centre is open from 9am to 3pm, Tuesday to Friday. A wide range of project information is available online via Australian Paper’s website here.
We want to address our future energy needs proactively, which is why we are carrying out a comprehensive Energy from Waste (EfW) feasibility study. With support from the Australian and Victorian Governments, Australian Paper is undertaking a $7.5 million feasibility study into an EfW facility at our Maryvale Mill. This facility could divert up to 650,000 tonnes of waste from Gippsland and Melbourne landfills each year, saving 500,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.
An EfW plant at Maryvale would require a $600 million investment estimated to support more than 1,600 Victorian jobs during construction and more than 440 ongoing. Our study is expected to conclude in mid 2018.
Australian Paper is committed to continuing to listen to the community and provide information on what this project would mean for our region.