Recognising the importance of water the Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith and Greens candidate for Lismore Sue Higginson are calling for the planning minister Anthony Roberts to exercise his power under the NSW planning law to direct Ballina and Tweed Local Councils to prohibit water mining in the wake of a proposed water extraction development application in Alstonville.
‘The community has rejected water mining,’ said Ballina MP Tamara Smith.
‘In Alstonville, farmers and residents are worried about the impact on the shared groundwater and in the Uki, locals are opposed to the daily barrage of water trucks disturbing their community and the impacts the extraction will have on the natural environment.’
‘Water mining is not sustainable development, it brings no jobs or profit to the region and threatens our water. Tweed and Ballina Councils have very little choice but to approve development applications for water mining or face challenges in the Land and Environment Court,’ said Ms Smith.
Greens candidate for Lismore Sue Higginson said, ‘It’s great the Nationals here have finally become concerned about the impacts of water mining on the community, but if they are genuine, they will join us in calling on the planning minister to end this land use conflict rather than sending it to an unnecessary inquiry and conveniently delaying it until after the state election.’
‘Calling for inquiries and moratoriums in this matter is risky for Councils that have legal obligations to assess developments in defined timeframes. It is ill-conceived and shows a complete lack of understanding of development and water law.’
‘Earlier this year the state government denied Tweed Council the right to prohibit water mining under its Local Environment Plan, putting it in a position where doing so would put it at risk of legal action.’
‘We need a consistent approach across the northern rivers, with Ballina and Tweed Councils adopting the same prohibition on water mining as Lismore and Byron Councils,’ said Ms Higginson.