Complaints about existing Boral and other Australian sites


People complain about noise and stench from Boral/ Allens asphalt plants despite "compliance" with regulations

Cooroy residents and Allen's asphalt plant

Residents kept awake at night by Allen's asphalt plant at Cooroy

22 May 2007
By Nicola Kerkenezov
Ringtail Creek residents are tossing and turning night after night. The small group of neighbours, who live in a rural setting north-west of Cooroy, are up in arms about noise coming from nearby Allen's Asphalt, off Ringtail Creek Drive.
The plant runs 24-hours a day and despite reports that the company has introduced noise-reduction measures, residents like Anthony Leigh and Jo (who does not wish to use her last name) said the problem was only getting worse. Jo lives about 3km from the site and said noise notably increased around Christmas. "We want to know where was the community consultation," she said. "The noise is so great at night, it is very noticeable. "It never goes away and goes on and on and on ... like a train going past."
Meanwhile, further up the valley at Forest Acres, Mr Leigh said the disturbance from the plant at night was so great that it was seriously disrupting his sleep and could be affecting wildlife. "Who would have thought that we would have to wear earplugs and close all the windows to get a decent night's sleep when we bought property in this beautiful rural setting," he said. "I suspect that this (noise) is also impacting on our local fauna. "I have noticed that the dawn chorus of birds has decreased dramatically and even nocturnal native visitors, which once delighted us, appear to be diminishing."
Noosa Council's senior environmental health officer David McNicoll said he was aware of the noise complaints but said sound tests so far indicated that the manufacturing plant's levels were within "normal" ranges. "An independent consultant has conducted one test and is due to report on a second in a few weeks," he said. "On the surface it is looking like (Allen's) is complying. "If the noise increases beyond normal levels (36 decibels during the day or 34 decibels at night), under their operating license, we could take action."
But local residents beg to differ, arguing that the plant noise was so disturbing it was becoming a health hazard. "There is no pattern to the problem," Mr Leigh said. "It is there one night and not the next. "We don't want the plant shut down ... we just want to be consulted." Allen's Asphalt general manager David Smale said he was aware of the complaints and said that the company was consulting with residents on the matter but refused to comment further.

Boral Linwood quarry

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Mike Elliott

  Extract from Hansard

Legislative Council
27 July 1999


National Site

South Australian Division
Mike Elliott
Leader Australian Democrats
Member of the Legislative Council

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The Hon. M.J. ELLIOTT: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Transport and Urban Development, representing the Minister for Natural Resources, a question about the Boral quarry.

Leave granted. The Hon. M.J. ELLIOTT: The quarry to which I refer is the Linwood quarry. Recently, I received a letter from the Marino Residents Task Force highlighting the concerns of local residents in respect of the pollution emanating from a plant which operated within the Linwood quarry. The letter informed me that the small asphalt plant had been operating for 23 years in the Linwood quarry with no problems. In September 1997, a large plant was built without the permission of Marion Council, and since that time significant problems have arisen with noise and stench. Problems are acute in summer and the residents are not looking forward to the summer pending. Summer 1997-98 saw the plant operate on diesel fuel with significant noise and stench. After many complaints to the EPA and the council, the plant was converted to gas. Noise levels then rose to 54-68 decibels. Eventually, after much pressure, the least preferable option of building a dirt mound to limit the noise and smell was proposed to be completed by December 1998. This was not done until May 1999. While that mound was being constructed it also created dust and noise from machinery. I understand that on 5 February 1999 Boral, the EPA, Marion Council and Marion residents agreed to the following: the EPA collecting and analysing fall out—and I am told that that has not been done; the mound to be completed—which eventually happened in May; and the EPA to put diffusion tubes on residents' properties to test levels—I am told that that was not done. Residents are aware of a lack of Government funding and the effect that that might have on the EPA and are concerned at the lack of action from the EPA. I believe that the contact made with my office followed what those residents had noted in relation to Castalloy, the recent problems with the foundry at Mount Barker and the inability of the EPA to handle those matters. My questions are: 1. Is the Minister aware of a petition signed by 700 people concerning the Linwood quarry situation presented to the member for Bright, Wayne Matthew? 2. Will the Minister assure the residents of Marino that their problems are not due to the under resourcing of the EPA? 3. What action will the Government take to respond to these concerns? 4. Is it indeed correct that the plant constructed in 1997 was built without the permission of the Marion Council and, if so, how did that come about, and has there been any legal action as a consequence of that?

The Hon. DIANA LAIDLAW: I will refer the honourable member's questions to the Minister and bring back a reply.


Montrose community and Boral


Victory over Montrose quarry row

Bryan Allchin


BORAL'S bid to expand the Montrose Quarry is over, with the State Government refusing to intervene.

Planning Minister Justin Madden said last Thursday that intervention was not warranted, leaving the Yarra Ranges Shire in control of the site.

"I have decided not to assume the role of planning authority and prepare the amendment that would be necessary for the quarry expansion to proceed," Mr Madden said.

Boral appealed to Mr Madden earlier this year after the Yarra Ranges Shire decided in November 2007 to reject the expansion plan.

Montrose residents, who have spent eight years fighting the plan, applauded the decision.

Stop Montrose Quarry Expansion group president Darren McCrorey said Mr Madden had listened to the community, while Montrose Environment Group president Kim Wormald was confident "this was the end of it".

"I can't see anywhere else it can go," Ms Wormald said. "At every level the expansion was not appropriate."

Yarra Ranges councillors also welcomed the decision.

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Boral's general manager quarries Paul Hillyer said the company was disappointed with the decision and would "evaluate the implications". "We have been denied the opportunity to have the EES properly and fairly assessed by an independent panel," Mr Hillyer said.


Montrose community and Boral

Quarry expansion blasted

By Tania Martin
20th November 2007 02:00:49 AM

BUILDING materials company Boral has been denied an extension of its Montrose Quarry for the second time in eight years.

The Shire of Yarra Ranges on Tuesday night last week unanimously refused an application for expansion and called for Boral to stop its campaign to extend the quarry.

The proposal called for the quarry to be expanded by 7.9 hectares, which would also extend its working life by 12 years.

This latest victory for the people of Montrose comes after they won the fight eight years ago when the then council also voted unanimously against an expansion.

More than 150 people stood up in the council chamber last week with placards imploring the council to stop the expansion.

STOP Montrose Quarry group president Darren McCrorey, told the council that it was time to put the fighting to an end and stop the expansion once and for all.

“Please give us a break and stop this expansion campaign,” he said.

Mr McCrorey said if the quarry was to expand it would forever scar the Montrose township in a way that could never be repaired.

He said people were concerned about the impacts of the fractured silica particles emitted from the quarry affecting their children’s health.

Residents are also concerned about the impact on the nearby forest, the wildlife and the environment.

But Boral Quarries general manager Paul Hillyer said 15 independent studies had been carried out for an environmental effects statement which showed that the quarry currently operated with little or no detrimental affect to the environment.

However, STOP Montrose Quarry member David Dobson told the Mail in June that he seriously doubted the findings of the report.

He said a consultant was commissioned by Boral, which leaves some doubts over the transparency of the reporting process.

At the meeting which eventually rejected the application, Mr Hillyer called for the council last Tuesday to let the application proceed so it could be put on public display and debated in an open forum.

But the council agreed that there had been extensive public debate over the issue for more than eight years and that the message was clear - the community didn’t want the quarry to expand.

Councillor Len Cox said there wasn’t another application that has had so much public discussion.

“The public just doesn’t want it,” he said.

Cr Cox said one of the major issues was the silica dust particles and that regardless of what Boral says about it being safe, nothing had been proven.

“They said asbestos was safe all those years ago – it’s the same with the silica dust, no one knows for sure if it safe or if it isn’t,” he said.

Mr Hillyer said Boral was disappointed over the council’s decision to refuse the extension, but that no decision had been made whether the application will sent to VCAT for appeal.

Mr McCrorey said that the people of Montrose would not rest until the proposal had been defeated by the highest level at a State Government level or at VCAT.


Fumes anger families near Baldivis asphalt plantBox

Fumes anger families near Baldivis asphalt plant

Narelle Towie, environment reporter

January 29, 2009 06:45pm

EXCLUSIVE: AS an asphalt manufacturing plant south of Perth splutters to life, residents living nearby complain they are already choking on diesel fumes.

The plant was erected without government approval just 150m from the nearest home in Baldivis, 41km south of Perth.

It is needed to provide bitumen for the Perth to Bunbury Highway.

But residents are outraged that environmental guidelines - stating asphalt plants must be 1km from the nearest resident - have not been enforced.

The Sunday Times and PerthNow exposed the controversy last November.

To add insult to injury, the Department of Environment and Conservation has issued an operating licence before planning approval has even been granted by the WA Planning Commission.

Pungent cocktail 

Asphalt plants release a smelly cocktail of highly toxic and carcinogenic chemicals into the air.

This week, diesel fumes and their odours were wafted over residents while the plant was being tested.

Locals complained of headaches, burning throats and stinging eyes. They also have fears for their long-term health.

Plant operators Pioneer Road Services said the machinery was immediately turned off as soon as complaints came in. A spokeswoman said it had commenced investigations into the cause of the odour.

Fears for children's health

Residents are worried that if this week’s experience is anything to go by, much worse is in store when operations commence full-time -  12 hours a day, six days a week.

They said their lives would be hell.

The decision now lays in the hands of the West Australian Planning Commission.

Local resident Sophie Wicksteed, who lives just 150m from the plant, said she is terrified for the health of her family.

“Yesterday there was this overwhelming smell of diesel like as if we had put our faces up to the exhaust pipe of a truck, then our eyes were stinging and watering and my throat was burning,” Ms Wicksteed said.

“I had just put washing on the line, and it now stinks and I’m going to have re-wash everything.

" We can’t live like this.”

The plant is intended to operate for nine months, however the DEC has issued a 12-month licence.

The DEC, which was lambasted after it failed to protect Esperance residents from lead exposure, says it has assessed the asphalt plant’s environmental impact and has determined it will not have an unacceptable impact on nearby residents.

MP's battle 

Warnbro MP Paul Papalia is outraged that the plant has been allowed to operate so close to homes.

He contacted the Environment Minister Donna Faragher in November 2008 and asked her to intervene and find a better location for the plant. 

Ms Faragher did not respond to Mr Papalia’s letter until The Sunday Times contacted her press office this week – nearly three months later.

Opposition environment spokeswoman Sally Talbot said Mr Faragher was asleep at the wheel over the issue.

“These concerns have been clearly expressed by the local residents, clearly conveyed to the Government by the local member yet it has been weeks and weeks before a response has been given,” Ms Talbot said.

"I think the residents are justifiably concerned and we need the Government to wake up and take these matters seriously,” she said.