Synergies was engaged by Lantrak to undertake an economic needs assessment of its proposal to develop a new landfill facility at Jeebropilly in the Ipswich City Council region. The objective was to prepare a report as an attachment to the development application, assessing the need for future landfill disposal capacity in Ipswich as well as the broader southeast Queensland (SEQ) region
Lantrak’s Swanbank landfill facility, located 28 kilometres southwest of Brisbane, was expected to reach maximum capacity within around two years. Because of this, Lantrak was seeking approval for the development of a new landfill facility to accommodate future growth in demand for waste generated in the Ipswich region and, more broadly, in SEQ.
At the time, however, the community was not expressing the same level of interest. While Lantrak was under increasing pressure to expand capacity, it faced community complaints concerning amenity impacts from operating a landfill facility. Because of a lack of funding and incentives to pursue alternatives, the desirability of landfill as a waste disposal method remained. In this context, Synergies undertook an economic needs assessment to substantiate demand for the new landfill development.
Synergies relied on historical trends in volumes of waste landfilled to investigate current and future supply-demand balance for landfill capacity, focusing on non-domestic waste (i.e. construction and demolition, dry commercial and industrial, and other (regulated) waste streams) to be accommodated by Lantrak’s proposed facility. Statistical information was sourced from publicly available industry data and information as well as consultations with members of relevant peak industry bodies.
The supply-demand balance was assessed for Ipswich and the relevant catchment area (comprising SEQ and northern New South Wales). Further, we provided a breakdown of total non-domestic waste landfilled by source (Queensland or interstate) and examined the projected volume for waste landfilled to 2031, inclusive and exclusive of a waste industry levy.
The needs assessment found that based on current utilisation rates, existing landfill facilities in SEQ and northern NSW had limited capacity to accommodate future growth in non-domestic waste over the medium to long term. Failure to facilitate the provision of the necessary expansion of landfill capacity was highlighted to result in several adverse impacts for the SEQ region, including:
an increase in the cost of road maintenance and the external costs of heavy vehicle transportation of non-domestic waste;
an increase in the incidence of illegal dumping;
a reduction in the viability of alternative waste processes; and
adverse impacts on employment in the waste disposal and related sectors.
Findings from the needs assessment was used as an input in the development application to the Ipswich City Council, substantiating the need for additional landfill capacity in the region.