WATER BATTLE ON BOIL
Calls for an independent review into the industry
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.
WATER SECURITY: Nationals candidate for Lismore, Austin Curtin, is calling on the NSW Government to investigate the water extraction industry.