WA­TER BAT­TLE ON BOIL

Calls for an in­de­pen­dent re­view into the in­dus­try

Tweed Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - Ais­ling Bren­nan ais­ling.bren­nan@tweed­dai­lynews.com.au

THE bat­tle over wa­ter se­cu­rity just got big­ger, fol­low­ing wide­spread calls from the three ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties for the NSW Govern­ment to con­duct an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into wa­ter ex­trac­tion on the North­ern Rivers.

On Mon­day, Na­tion­als can­di­date for Lis­more Austin Curtin re­quested the govern­ment launch an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion to as­sess the po­ten­tial im­pact wa­ter ex­trac­tion op­er­a­tions are hav­ing on the wa­ter table.

Mr Curtin said the govern­ment needed to in­ves­ti­gate whether wa­ter ex­trac­tion prac­tices would have a “fu­ture long-term im­pact on agri­cul­ture”.

“Wa­ter se­cu­rity is an is­sue fac­ing com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try and the pub­lic has the right to know what ef­fect in­dus­try is hav­ing on this im­por­tant re­source,” Mr Curtin said.

“I want NSW chief sci­en­tist Hugh Dur­rantwhyte to in­ves­ti­gate whether the wa­ter able to be ex­tracted through ground­wa­ter li­cences on the North­ern Rivers is sus­tain­able, and the vi­a­bil­ity of the bot­tled wa­ter sec­tor in our re­gion.”

Less than 24 hours after Mr Curtin’s an­nounce­ment, La­bor can­di­dates Craig El­liot (Tweed), As­ren Pugh (Bal­lina) and Janelle Saf­fin (Lis­more), called for “North­ern Rivers Lo­cal Govern­ment Coun­cils to sus­pend the grant­ing of fu­ture De­vel­op­ment Ap­pli­ca­tions for com­mer­cial wa­ter ex­trac­tion en­ter­prises”.

“La­bor in govern­ment will hold a Par­lia­men­tary Re­view into the li­cens­ing of com­mer­cial wa­ter ex­trac­tion to en­sure such ac­tiv­ity is sus­tain­able and to ad­dress com­mu­nity con­cerns,” the joint so­cial me­dia post stated.

“We urge the Bere­jik­lian–bar­i­laro NSW Govern­ment to com­mit to a com­pre­hen­sive re­view of the grant­ing of wa­ter ex­trac­tion li­cences and specif­i­cally the im­pact on our wa­ter table and aquifers.”

The state­ment also called for coun­cils to “re­move spe­cial clauses in the Lo­cal En­vi­ron­ment Plan un­til a full re­view of the sci­ence of wa­ter ex­trac­tion is held”.

Mean­while, Greens Can­di­date for Lis­more Sue Hig­gin­son has gone one step fur­ther and re­quested the Plan­ning Min­is­ter gives lo­cal coun­cils power to reg­u­late and pro­hibit wa­ter min­ing.

“If Thomas Ge­orge re­ally wants to pro­tect our ground­wa­ter for its best use and stop the ex­pan­sion of the in­dus­try he would take real ac­tion and make his govern­ment give coun­cils the plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment con­trol pow­ers they need,” she said.

“We should be pro­vid­ing cer­tainty about the type of de­vel­op­ment we want in the North­ern Rivers and we do that through our plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment laws.”

This sup­port from a ma­jor po­lit­i­cal party fol­lows on­go­ing com­mu­nity out­rage over sev­eral ap­pli­ca­tions to ex­tract wa­ter for com­mer­cial pur­poses across the shire.

While for­mer NSW La­bor min­is­ter Jack Hal­lam re­cently re­ceived ap­proval to start ex­tract­ing 24 me­gal­itres an­nu­ally from his Uki prop­erty last month, an ap­pli­ca­tion lodged to use 19m wa­ter trucks by the Kar­los fam­ily, who have op­er­ated a wa­ter ex­trac­tion busi­ness on their Ur­liup prop­erty since 2003, was re­cently re­jected by the LEC.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

WA­TER SE­CU­RITY: Na­tion­als can­di­date for Lis­more, Austin Curtin, is call­ing on the NSW Govern­ment to in­ves­ti­gate the wa­ter ex­trac­tion in­dus­try.

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