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Byron Shire
October 22, 2021

Water mining is the new CSG: campaigner

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Anti water mining activists at Uki on Saturday in front of a tanker successfully blockaded. Photo supplied

A rally at Uki on Saturday succeeded in stopping in their tracks two tankers that organisers say were illegally carting water on the weekend.

Scott Sledge, a veteran Tweed campaigner and coordinator of Northern Rivers Guardians, told Echonetdaily the trucks were carting spring water against the condition of their licences.

At around 10.30am, after the rally had heard from Mr Sledge and Tweed Water Alliance spokesperson Jeremy Tager, the 200-strong crowd ‘spontaneously ran out onto the road to block the tanker,’ Mr Sledge said.

‘We asked the driver whether he was aware that it was against Council conditions for them to truck water on the weekend and he said he wasn’t.’

Mr Sledge said that after they explained the situation to the truck driver, the crowd let the tanker pass.

But the truck returned at around 1pm with a second tanker, also believed to have come from the same property.

‘By this time there were around 70 people still in the park after the rally and they again ran out onto the road and did their own thing,’ he said.

Sign at Saturday’s (October 27) anti water mining rally at Uki. Photo supplied


Mr Sledge, whose group staged some of the early actions against CSG licences in the region, said he believes that water mining is becoming ‘the new CSG’ in the Northern Rivers.

It’s become a flashpoint at Uki. They’re very angry about the amount of traffic going through at all hours, which is not allowed.

‘The people just feel like they’re being walked on. The people don’t believe the water belongs to the trucking companies – they believe it belongs to the public,’ Mr Sledge said.

He added that the issue ‘has all the emotional impact that CSG did’.

‘It’s become an issue where a lot of people, including me, see it as an environmental disaster in the making,’ he said.


Map showing the various locations of Tweed water mining licences (pending and approved).

11 licences

Saturday’s rally came after a month of mixed news on the issue.

In September, Tweed Shire Council to allow former Labor MP Jack Hallam to operate a water mining operation near Uki, which would see a maximum extraction volume of 24 megalitres per year.

But last week, the Karlos family, who operate a water extraction business at Bilambil had their appeal to the Land and Environment Court over Council conditions dismissed.

There are currently 11 active and pending applications for water extraction operations within the Tweed Shire (see map).

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  1. I thought Councillors were elected to represent the wishes of the community, who are making it loud and clear that they oppose water mining. However, Labor Councillor Reece Byrne appears to be ignoring his constituents in favour of the applicant, a former Labor Agriculture Minister, who is the only one who will benefit from this insidious practice. Not only will the applicant take water out of our aquifers to make a profit, but the water then goes to Queensland so that Coca Cola can make a profit. No monetary gain for the local community, who instead will have to pay the price for ongoing road maintenance. The last straw is that the water will end up in plastic bottles, which are trashing our environment and oceans.

  2. If the water miners are in breach of their licence and/or the DA conditions then any member of the public
    or group such as NRG can apply to the Land and Environment Court and request an injunction.

    To obtain an injunction one needs at first instance must establish a prima facie case which according to all reports this clearly is.

    Such a breach needs to show it is having impact on the environment which seems to be the case.


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