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Byron Shire
July 14, 2024

Water mining inquiry a ‘smokescreen’ say Greens

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The anger is immense and the message is simple – Stop Water Mining. Angry Uki residents stopped trucks that were carrying water against the condition of their licences Saturday October 27. Photo supplied.

The NSW inquiry into water mining in the northern rivers region has been compared to the Liberal National coalitions tactics on coal seam gas (CSG) and fracking in the region.

‘This is a pretence designed to fool residents into believing action is being taken,’ said Member for Ballina Tamara Smith.

‘This inquiry is a smokescreen and it is very similar to what the Liberal National government did with Coal Seam Gas,’ said Ms Smith. 

‘The words of the LNP on this issue are eerily similar to when CSG and fracking was invading our region. 

‘Rather than acting immediately with the Minister’s powers to ban water mining in Ballina Shire, we get the promise of the Chief Scientist looking into it in some far off future and words of concern about current development applications instead of direct action.’

Welcomed with reservations

However, the Tweed Water Alliance has cautiously welcomed the inquiry and ‘are incredibly pleased that finally water mining is being taken as a serious issue,’ said Trevor White, a spokesperson for the Tweed Water Alliance.

‘This is certainly a step in the right direction. The enquiry means water mining is a state election issue.

‘Our fear is that the enquiry will be hijacked by vested interests.’

Tweed Water Alliance have highlighted the fact that the narrow focus of the inquiry will mean the inquiry will lack substance.

‘The enquiry is looking only at the sustainability of the water mining industry,’ said Mr White.

‘The attendant lack of monitoring, truck movements, bottling in plastic and subsequent plastic pollution are all major areas of concern that have been ignored in the inquiry’s terms of reference.

This is the new normal in Uki. Water tankers at all hours of the day and night. Photo supplied.

Ban water mining

Tamara Smith has called for the Minister on the floor of Parliament to ban to water mining while Tweed Water Alliance is calling for a stop to the extraction of water for bottling. 

 ‘I have met with residents who will be directly affected by a proposed water mine and who have made it clear they don’t want their water resources stripped and trucked out of the region,’ said Ms Smith.

‘I have made a submission opposing a water mine development in my electorate and I gathered 276 other submissions opposing the water mine.

‘I have taken action and I call on the NSW government to truly do the same – ban water mining in the northern rivers region by allowing local councils to prohibit it under their Local Environmental Plans (LEP),’ said Ms Smith. 

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  1. Good on those who are taking direct action for sanity around water. Government action is too slow and to allow this robbery of what is a common resource is a flagrant dereliction of duty on the part of the government.

  2. Thank you, Greens mayor Katie Milne, for standing up with the community against this insidious water mining industry. And congratulations that your motion at last Thursday’s Tweed Shire Council meeting to remove water mining from the Tweed Local Environmental Plan was passed. Even though it still has to be approved by the State Government, it is a step in the right direction.

    Unfortunately former Labor Agriculture Minister Jack Hallam’s development application to sell his water to Coca Cola in Queensland has been ticked off by Council before a water mining ban is implemented.

    This raises serious questions about why Labor Councillor Reece Byrnes voted for the removal of water mining from the LEP last year, then backflipped on his decision and voted to approve the former Labor Agriculture Minister’s water mining DA. Now that this DA is done and dusted, he has backflipped again and is supporting a ban on water mining.

  3. Okay. It’s all so simple. Stop the Water Mining – it’s liquid gold – and we
    can’t live without it. Water Mining is more harmful than CSG [coal seam
    gas] or Fracking in any area in this or any country.

  4. Water is most definitely the most precious resource we have. It’s quite obvious to all and sundry that water is the new “gold”. It is being corporatised at an alarming rate and our own farmers are being shut out for the profits of big companies.

  5. Best way to stop water mining for bottling is Vote out the ones for it ( they aren’t hard to find ) then vote in ones against it ( easy to find nearly everyone ). I don’t trust Nationals remember the old saying – Don’t you worry about that- bjelke petersen. Good on people of Uki for standing up and being a thorn in their side. I am proud to be a resident there.?


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