Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty and council chief executive Terry Dodds will head a delegation to Western Australia next month to explore how the City of Cockburn is implementing its waste-to-energy strategy.
Mr Dodds said Western Australia is around four years ahead of the rest of the country in converting waste to energy, with three plants already approved.
“Gaining this valuable knowledge will significantly benefit the chances of successfully traversing the politically-charged approval process,” Mr Dodds said.
Among the fellow delegation invitees are MP Thomas George, Country Mayors Association chair Katrina Humphries, Northern Inland Regional Waste Group chair Michael Pearce and Moree Plains Shire Council’s planning and development director Angus Witherby.
The opportunity came up through a fortuitous seating of Mr Dodds alongside Cockburn mayor Logan Howlett at June’s National General Assembly of Local Government. Mr Howlett’s chief executive has already been on a six-country overseas study tour to research waste-to-energy installations, and Mr Dodds is keen to access that information.
Moreover he wants to see how Cockburn navigated the political hurdles to get approval for its soon-to-be-build installation.
“There are 1127 plants in Japan,” Mr Dodds said.
“This is not a technical project, it’s a political project.
“This could save us two to three years of work.”
Mr Dodd’s is keen to have Mr George onside, despite his impending retirement.
“Thomas George know everything about everybody,” he said.
“He and Adam Marshall were the only two ministers who actively wrote to the local government minister on our behalf.”
Mr George said he’s been well-supported by Mr Marshall in promoting the endeavour, but unfortunately he himself won’t be able to make this trip although that doesn’t exclude him from making a later visit. He has already scheduled a meeting with Roads and Maritime Services in Kyogle to discuss timber bridges, in which Tenterfield Shire Council representatives will also be involved.
Nevertheless he said he’s right behind Tenterfield’s waste-to-energy initiative.
“It’s something I fully support in every way,” he said.
“I’m disappointed I can’t go to inspect the facility, but that doesn’t stop me going another time.”
In regard to Mr Dodds’ hope that Mr George could be instrumental in pushing the proposal forward at state level post-retirement, he said he would never forget the communities he served and there may be times that in some small way he can assist them.