Dial A Dump chief Ian Malouf came out swinging on Thursday as he fronted an Upper House inquiry into energy-from-waste technology.
Mr Malouf rebutted “ridiculous claims” about his plans to build an incinerator at Eastern Creek during a tense hearing at NSW Parliament House.
Plans to build the plant hundreds of metres from homes has drawn widespread criticism from residents, councils and politicians in western Sydney, concerned about the potential health impacts of its emissions.
But Mr Malouf dismissed those fears, saying the technology was “tried and proven” with more than 2200 similar plants operating worldwide.
“It’s a substantial investment for us...it will bring jobs to western Sydney,” he said.
“It provides cheaper electricity prices, it’s a safer alternative to landfill [and] reduces greenhouse gas emissions.”
He said that Dial A Dump had “substantially” responded to objections made by NSW Health and the Environmental Protection Agency, who both opposed the plant.
Despite more than 990 submissions made against the proposal, he believes “the large community...is definitely in favour of this plant”.
“Our facility is located in an industrial estate, not in the heart of western Sydney,” Mr Malouf said.
Mr Malouf defended his company’s record after being questioned about Dial A Dump’s 18 EPA breaches since 2005.
He also addressed accusations made by ABC’s Four Corners that the company had shipped waste to Queensland to avoid the NSW government’s waste levy fees.
“[I have] 33 years in business and a very, very good track record,” he said.
“We’re not here to do anything wrong.”
Mr Malouf also reiterated claims made by Dial A Dump chief executive Chris Biggs at June’s hearing that the current proposal was for a facility that would take in and burn 550,000 tonnes of waste per year.
He said the plant would only expand to take in more than one million tonnes of waste, as widely reported, “if it is a commercial and technical success”.
Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali said Mr Malouf was “out of touch with reality” if he believed the community was in favour of the proposal.
Despite claims the plant would operate under world’s best practice, Cr Bali said energy-from-waste technology was “out-dated and potentially harmful to the environment and residents’ health”.
“The industry also lacks the rigorous legislative and policy provisions to ensure world’s best practice,” he said.
“When objective, well informed and scientifically rigorous organisations like the Environment Protection Agency and Western Sydney Local Health District opposes a proposal, as they have, you know there is good reason to be worried about it.”