ACTA submitted a works approval application on 2 April 2019 to EPA for a static pile composting facility in Bannockburn, VIC 3331.

ACTA proposed the facility would accept up to 50,000 m3 of wastes each year including:

  • poultry manure
  • hatchery waste
  • grease trap waste
  • abattoir waste

and produce up to 36,400 m3 of pasteurised product per year.

Following a technical assessment of the application EPA refused the works approval application on 22 January 2020.

For more information on EPA's works approval process see EPA publication 1523.2.

VCAT review

Following EPA's refusal to grant works approval 1003363 to Advanced Composting Technologies Australia (ACTA), an application for merits review (P243/2020) of the decision was lodged with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

Now that this application to review the decision has been lodged with VCAT the decision is suspended until the application is withdrawn or the review is determined.

EPA notes the VCAT hearing process is established and controlled by VCAT – EPA does not set timeframes or requirements for VCAT reviews.

As the matter is now before VCAT, EPA cannot comment on the works approval.

VCAT orders were issued on 18 February 2020 and a Practice Day has been set for 20 March 2020.

A VCAT Hearing is scheduled for early November 2020.

EPA's assessment of the application

EPA’s assessment of ACTA’s works approval application included:

  • advertising the application, on 17 April 2019 in the Herald Sun, Ballarat Miner/Golden Plains Times and Geelong Advertiser for 21 days and referring the application to statutory and non-statutory agencies for review
  • holding on 13 June 2019, a drop in information session on the application and a community conference at the Bannockburn Cultural Centre – the independent report from the chair of the conference being posted on this project webpage
  • formally requesting further information from ACTA deemed relevant and necessary to EPA’s determination of the application
  • consulting on the further information received from ACTA for 14 days and seeking updated referral responses from Sustainability Victoria, the CFA and Agriculture Victoria
  • considering submissions from the community, statutory and non-statutory agency referral responses received and the recommendations made by the chair of the community conference in their independent conference report
  • completing technical assessments of how the application meets the Environment Protection Act (EP Act), relevant policies and best practice guidelines for compost facilities, with key issues being odour: fire, biosecurity, environmental public health risks; and potential impacts to the beneficial uses of land where the ACTA processed material would be applied
  • commissioning an independent review of ACTA’s application by a composting expert
  • commissioning an independent peer review of EPA’s assessment report by that composting expert.

Works approval refused

Following completion of its technical assessment of the application, EPA refused the works approval application on 22 January 2020.

In determining the application, EPA considered all relevant information, including:

• all works approval application documents, discussions with ACTA, previous approvals sought and issued to ACTA by the EPA

• referral responses and submissions, and

• the recommendations from the chair of the s20B conference.

In rejecting the works approval application, EPA determined through its technical assessment that the application would not be able to meet all the requirements of environmental policies as are required for a works approval.

Next steps

An application for merits review (P243/2020) of EPA’s refusal to grant works approval 1003363 has been lodged at VCAT by Advanced Composting Technology.

VCAT orders were issued on 18 February 2020 and a Practice Day has been set for 20 March 2020.