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Byron Shire
June 7, 2023

Tweed water mining ‘must be stopped’

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The Tweed Water Alliance is urging the Tweed council to reject a water mining application.  (file pic)
The Tweed Water Alliance is urging the Tweed council to reject a water mining application. (file pic)

The Tweed Water Alliance has called on the Tweed Shire Council to stop the proposed expansion of water mining at a property on Urliup Road in Bilambil at its Council meeting tonight.

Alliance spokesman Jeremy Tager said originally the development was one or two ute trips a week. The proponent now wants 12 trips a day with 14-19 metre trucks on a road never intended for heavy vehicles.

‘Initially, it was 5 million litres now he wants to take over 60 million litres of precious water that belongs to the entire community and he’s already talking about even more,’ Mr Tager said.

‘The community is already seeing a reduction in water in their creeks, springs and bores.

‘The notion of such large trucks on this road is absurd. This road is winding, steep and often less than three metres wide. It would need to be widened for at least several kilometres and then what? An industrial road for the benefit of one family at the expense of many others.

Mr Tager claimed the applicant had a history of chronic breaches of his current approvals – serious breaches that had not been investigated and not been remedied.

‘Thirty-six breach complaints between 2012 and 2015 and just two minor fines and a decision by the previous council to stop investigating alleged breaches by this business.

‘An approval would not only reward the applicant but tell this family and the entire water mining industry that future breaches won’t matter.’

‘There is no better example in the Tweed of why water mining is so bad. Once a business has a licence it demands more water, bigger trucks, more profit, and water that should belong to all of us is given away for free. The owner of the licence makes lots of money and the community gets conflict, damaged and dangerous roads and problems with the reliability of their water.”

‘Tweed shire council loses money when it allows this to happen. Road costs associated with large trucks are far greater than any contribution made by licencees and the council will certainly end up paying for the water insecurity that this industry inevitably brings.“

Mr Tager said the hydrology report commissioned by the applicant to show that there was plenty of water was extremely poor.

‘It makes a number of conclusions but doesn’t provide any evidence, doesn’t conduct even the basic tests that any hydrology study needs,’ he  said.

‘It is a promotional document, not a scientific one and certainly not a document the council can or should rely on.’

‘We urge the Council to act in the public interest. And the public interest says no, no way.’

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