Angry locals have accused a western Sydney councillor of ‘reverse racism’ after a meeting was held solely in Mandarin without any English translation.
Cumberland City Council, a local government area in Sydney’s west, is considering a $5million proposal for a new rubbish tip in Lidcombe.
The proposed Organics Transfer Station will process 80,000 tonnes of domestic and food waste per year and operate seven days a week.
However, many residents are opposing the site over its proximity to homes and schools as well as fears of an odour and increased truck traffic.
When locals arrived at a meeting conducted by Councillor Kun Huang, many were shocked to discover it was being held only in Mandarin, 2GB’s Ben Fordham reports.
Non-Mandarin speakers sat in silence for about 20 minutes before a man stood up and asked if they could be provided with an English translation.
Cumberland City Councillor Steve Christou, who also attended the meeting, also spoke up on behalf of non-Mandarin speakers.
‘We’re here because we want the community united on this, not certain sections of the community where we are divided,’ he says in audio from the meeting.
‘The whole community needs to be united and informed.’
‘We did mention, that this presentation is in Chinese,’ a man responds.
Non-Mandarin speakers sat in silence for about 20 minutes before a man stood up and asked if they could be provided with an English translation
Councillor Christou told 2GB’s Ben Fordham that his colleague had doubled down.
‘There should have been a translation offered, but more importantly residents had given up their Sunday afternoon to discuss the issue of a local tip being forced upon their local area,’ he said.
‘Why wasn’t that the sole focus of the meeting and why was a lawyer brought along to discuss a DA proposal that’s very easy to explain to residents, the process and how to object to it.’
The councillor said the meeting was an example of ‘reverse racism’.
‘Australians are very concerned about this type of behaviour,’ he said.
‘They could have easily been catered for with an English translation.
‘The gentleman asked nicely, there were a few residents that wanted a translation, why weren’t they accommodated? That’s the whole question here,’ he said.
The Organics Transfer Station has been designed to help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill every year and help NSW achieve better rates of recycling.
Local resident Roydon Ng said the tip would worsen traffic in the area.
‘All this back and forth about how its organic waste and how not smelly it is, it’s still waste and it’s still food at the end of the day,’ Mr Ng told Parra News.
‘The Lidcombe town centre is not particularly wide at the streets, there’s already congestion, no one’s going to feel particularly comfortable standing, waiting to cross the street when massive trucks are queuing up at the lights.’
Cumberland City Councilor Steve Christou, who also attended the meeting, spoke up on behalf of non-Mandarin speakers. He said it was an example of ‘reverse racism’
The Church Street facility is expected to see 118 truck movements per day and will operate from 6am to 10pm from Monday to Friday, and 8am to 6pm on Saturday.
A project proposal states the effects of traffic, dust, odour, noise and visual amenity would be minimal and unlikely to impact on the surrounding population,
‘An increase in odour would occur from the southwest to the northern region of the site. It is noted however that the odour levels predicted would remain below the relevant criteria,’ the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) said.
‘The number of generated traffic movements are minimal and well within the road carrying capacity of the site access road and would not represent an adverse impact upon the operation of the surrounding road network.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Councillor Huang for comment.