WA­TER MIN­ING PLEAS

Tweed Daily News - - FRONT PAGE -

THE fight to stop a wa­ter ex­trac­tion pro­ject isn’t over, de­spite Tweed Shire Coun­cil ap­prov­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Coun­cil on Thurs­day voted 4:3 in favour of a de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion lodged by for­mer NSW La­bor Min­is­ter Jack Hal­lam to ex­tract 24 me­gal­itres of wa­ter an­nu­ally from his Row­lands Creek Rd prop­erty, near Uki.

For al­most two years coun­cil has been as­sess­ing the con­tro­ver­sial ap­pli­ca­tion, af­ter the com­mu­nity raised on­go­ing con­cerns about road safety and the po­ten­tial im­pacts to sur­round­ing aquifers.

De­spite coun­cil’s ap­proval, Tweed Wa­ter Al­liance spokesman Jeremy Tager said the com­mu­nity would not give up the fight against wa­ter ex­trac­tion.

“The next step is that we will look at lit­i­ga­tion,” Mr Tager said.

“The re­al­ity is that this com­mu­nity is not go­ing to take yes for an an­swer, whether it’s through lit­i­ga­tion or it’s through non-vi­o­lent di­rect ac­tion.

“We’ve got a num­ber of peo­ple who have ex­pe­ri­ence from Bent­ley (Block­ade).

“I think this is CSG 2.0.

“You look at the num­ber of peo­ple who turned out (to the coun­cil meet­ing on Thurs­day) and the num­ber of peo­ple who are from all over the shire who are so pas­sion­ate about this.

“They know what the im­por­tance of wa­ter means.

“How can you get four coun­cil­lors who don’t un­der­stand that this is our lifeblood?”

Mean­while, La­bor Cr Reece Byrnes, who used his cast­ing vote in sup­port of the ap­pli­ca­tion, has been the main tar­get for Tweed Wa­ter Al­liance mem­bers’ frus­tra­tions since the ap­pli­ca­tion was ap­proved, with many on so­cial me­dia call­ing on the com­mu­nity to con­tact him di­rectly.

“It has been clear to us that the ALP, at least in this area, is in­sist­ing that this (ap­pli­ca­tion) went through,” Mr Tager said.

But Cr Byrnes has hit back at sug­ges­tions there was a con­flict of in­ter­est with Mr Hal­lam’s con­nec­tion to the La­bor party.

“We have a coun­cil re­port that says it is sus­tain­able and if we don’t sup­port it we are say­ing ‘all our en­gi­neers and plan­ning de­part­ment staff are id­iots’,” Cr Byrnes said dur­ing Thurs­day’s meet­ing.

PHOTO: SCOTT POWICK

CALL FOR AC­TION: One of the many pro­test­ers out­side the Tweed Shire Coun­cil Cham­bers last week, call­ing on coun­cil­lors to stop wa­ter ex­trac­tion.

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