The group Tweed Water Alliance (TWA) has made the startling claim that a shed adjacent to former Wran government minister Jack Hallam’s proposed spring-water site at Uki once stored the active ingredients of the now-banned defoliant Agent Orange.
Spokesperson for the group, Jeremy Tager, told Echonetdaily he’d had contact with a former owner of the property, who said the pesticides 2,4 D and 2,4,5 T, which were routinely used by farmers in the 1960s, were stored in the shed and sprayed around the property.
Agent Orange, which was used during the Vietnam war as a chemical weapon, contains equal parts of the two herbicides, one of which has been banned in Australia since the 1980s.
Both compounds contain traces of dioxin, which can persist in the environment for many years, and which has been found to be highly toxic, even in moderate amounts.
TWA said that in his application, Mr Hallam, who plans to sell the water from his aquifer in Rowlands Creek Road for commercial bottling in Queensland, claimed there had been no activities on the site that could lead to contamination.
‘Mr Hallam obviously did not make even basic enquiries about the historical use of chemicals on the land and for him to claim, without evidence, that contamination was of no concern, is deeply misleading,’ Tager said.
‘There are many in this area who could have given him a more accurate history if he’d cared to ask or investigate.’
‘The Tweed Water Alliance is asking the Tweed Shire Council (TSC) to require contamination testing of the land before the Development Application proceeds any further,’ Mr Tager said.
A spokesperson for TSC said, ‘Council is not aware of any specific request for a contamination report unless it has been raised in the public submissions which have not been fully assessed at this point.’
‘As part of the ongoing council assessment of the DA, council will be requesting more detail on water testing,’ the spokesperson said.
Echonetdaily has as yet been unable to independently confirm Mr Tager’s claims.