Labor, Liberal and National Party-aligned Tweed councillors have once again come under fire by local community groups for missing a prime opportunity to reign in the water mining industry at a key Council meeting last night.
Community groups stepped up their push against the environmentally damaging industry, staging a protest outside Tweed chambers yesterday.
NSW Greens MLC Dawn Walker said: ‘The NSW LNP government has been approving these water mining operations but are now questioning their own actions by recently calling for an investigation into the impacts of water mining on ground water after pressure was put on them by the Alstonville and Uki communities and the Greens.’
The prime target of community ire was around the bore water extraction plant trading under the name of Mt Warning Spring Water.
Community outrage spilled over in the chamber at the decision to stage development consent of the 2016 development application which would extend the trucking allowance so that Mt Warning Spring Water could operate unlimited truck sizes, 7am -7pm, 7 days a week including on Christmas day even before their onsite water bottling plant had been set-up.
Cr Chris Cherry declared the lax conditions of the 2016 DA as ‘beyond belief’.
‘Council had an opportunity to bolster compliance mechanisms to ensure more robust overseeing and monitoring of water extraction amounts and truck loads through restrictions put forward by Greens Mayor Katie Milne such as requiring operators to use log books. These motions, however were rejected by Labor and conservative councillors.
Mayor Katie Milne said:’The community has raised concerns on numerous occasions about lack of evidence of the sustainability of water mining operations, impacts on the community, rural character of the area and on the road network.’
In a win for community and the Greens, the DA’s for the Urliup and Robert Dawes’s Dungay water extraction license were not approved as requests by council for information were not forthcoming.
The reasons these licenses were voted down include the impact on the community, road damage, and the state government inquiry by the Chief Scientist into concerns over the water bottling industry and environmental sustainability.
Greens state candidate for Tweed Bill Fenelon said: ‘I am a strong advocate for ending the environmentally damaging water-mining industry. Last night’s Council decisions to reject the Dungay and Urliup applications is a victory for the community whose voices have finally been heard.’