LISMORE, NSW. NOVEMBER 6, 2018: Greens Candidate for Lismore, Ms Sue Higginson, has challenged Thomas George MP’s call for an inquiry on water mining. Instead, Ms Higginson, an expert environment and planning lawyer, wants clear direction from the Planning Minister to give our Local Council’s power to regulate and prohibit water mining in our Region.
Ms Higginson said, “It is good that Thomas George MP has responded to the community’s concerns about water mining, but his response is completely unstrategic and lacks understanding of the problem of water mining and the laws that apply to it.”
Yesterday, Mr George requested that his own Government consider placing a moratorium over the granting of any new water licences for the commercial extraction of water in our region.
“If Mr George had his eye on the ball he would know that Tweed Shire Council has been seeking local planning powers from his Government to prohibit water mining in its Local Government Area for many months now and it has been denied. This is what needs to be done and could have been done months ago. Instead we now have runaway water mining in the Tweed and it is now expanding in the Ballina Shire.
“If Mr George really wants to protect our ground water for its best use and stop the expansion of the industry he would take real action and make his Government give Councils the planning and development control powers they need.
“While I think any scientific inquiry into better understanding our ground water resources is good, in this circumstance it is likely to prove to be a waste of time and money. Extracting millions of litres of water from our complex ground water systems to put in to plastic bottles, which does not create new jobs in the region, is not good business. It takes 6 litres of mined water to make 1 litre of bottled water.
“As I have said previously, this is simply not the type of development we want in the Northern Rivers. We should be providing certainty about the type of development we want in the Northern Rivers and we do that through our planning and development laws. Respectfully, Thomas George should know this,” Ms Higginson said.