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.
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.