As water continues become the most precious commodity, a community group called Save Alstonville Aquifer have received news that the proposed development for bottled water extraction from the Alstonville Aquifer has been withdrawn.
Late Monday afternoon, spokesperson for Save Alstonville Aquifer, Mike Hogan, was advised by a Melbourne journalist that the application for industrial extraction of water was withdrawn.
On Tuesday the group were able to confirm that news with a Ballina Shire Council Planner.
Mr Hogan said the group wanted to thank the community in their unwavering support with opposition to the proposed development. ‘The concern we had with the extraction of water from the Aquifer, is that it would likely have a serious impact on people and ecosystems in the Alstonville area,’ he said.
‘There would be zero socio-economic benefits for local residents, Council and State Government under the current system if the application was to go ahead.
A huge win for farmers
Tamara Smith MP says this is a huge win for the farmers of the Alstonville plateau. ‘The developers have formally withdrawn their development application to mine water from a property in Ellis road,’ she said. ‘Michael Hogan and a group of concerned farmers have been fighting for this for several years, and their tireless efforts have finally come to fruition.
Ms Smith has stood with the farmers over the years in opposition to this proposal and was delighted to be notified of its withdrawal yesterday.
‘This is a huge win for the farmers and our region. I commend the efforts of Michael Hogan and the members of the Save the Alstonville Aquifer group who have fought long and hard to protect this precious resource,’ said Ms Smith.
The application proposed to increase water extraction from a site in Ellis road, with the surplus water not being used for onsite irrigation to be sold to a third party for retail sale.
‘Exporting our good food growing and drinking water overseas is something I have vehemently opposed. I trust this matter will now be put to rest.
No social or environmental license
‘There is no social license or environmental license to use aquifer water on food growing land for industrial extraction,’ she said.
‘We will continue to follow this to the end and will hopefully be able to meet with the Minister for Water Hon Mel Pavey, after the Chief Scientist’s Final report is released next week,’ said Mike Hogan.
Save Alstonville Aquifer will now focus attention on the Ballina Shire’s proposed change to the Local Environment Plan as well as the motion put forward at the Local Government Conference by Rous Water Director Councillor Sharon Cadwallader.
‘We can now guarantee the water from the Alstonville Aquifer will stay here to be used for stock and domestic, agriculture and horticulture,’ said Mr Hogan after the news broke. ‘It is a win for the local community.’