MEDIA RELEASE 5th October 2018: Greens Candidate for Lismore Sue Higginson says the decision of Tweed Shire Council yesterday to approve the controversial development application to extract thousands of litres of water annually from a Uki property was short sighted, ill-informed and not in the Regions best interests.
Ms Higginson who is an expert in public interest environment and planning law said “extracting large volumes of water from our complex ground water system and putting it in plastic bottles so a private company can make a profit is not the in the public interest. Ground water is a natural resource that ought to be managed for its best use, taking it out of the system entirely is not the sort of sustainable development that we need in our Region.”
She says “the way the DA has been approved is very controversial. Almost half of the Tweed Shire Councillors were reasonably asking that the decision be deferred until there was better independent evidence that the extraction would not be as harmful as some suspect”. “It is not absolutely clear why Labor’s Councillor Reece Byrnes was not supportive of such a reasonable course of action and it was his vote that ultimately determined this development”.
She says “There is large community opposition to this development and this type of water extraction and that opposition is building every day. I have attended community meetings where important questions and issues about the water take were raised and it was very clear that many in the community do not see this industry as having any future in this Region.”
“I have been working with climate science as evidence in and out of the courts now for many years, the jury is in – as global temperatures increase water will get more and more scare. For us here in the Northern Rivers that means although we have high rainfall compared to other regions, our actual water resources, our rivers, creeks and aquifers will get drier and flows will decrease. Therefore, the protection of our water resources is essential for our long-term security, as droughts become more frequent and agriculture and growing food becomes more challenging.
Ms Higginson said “the Greens in the Northern Rivers have a vision to build the resilience of our remarkable landscape so that it can be a food and produce hub which can provide for all of us. We must act right now. This means allocating our precious natural resources, such as our ground water to best public use. Allowing individual wealthy companies to extract ground water and take it out of the region for private profit is an irresponsible thing to do in the face of what we know and what we need to do.”