Tweed Water Alliance members protesting against water extraction in the shire.
Tweed Water Alliance members protesting against water extraction in the shire. Richie Mamando

Council's planning to ban water extraction by changing LEP

THE controversial water extracting industry that's plagued Tweed Shire Council for years could soon be banned after councillors voted to change the Local Environment Plan (LEP).

For the second time this year, Mayor Katie Milne requested council remove the right to extract water for commercial water bottling purposes from the LEP to protect rural roads from heavy truck movements.

Cr Milne said ongoing outrage from the community over water extraction was also a reason council should ban the practice.

The motion received the support of four votes to two at Thursday's council meeting.

However, before the LEP changes are made council will need to seek approval from the NSW Planning Department and give a more comprehensive argument for the removal of the clause than previously provided.

The motion follows last week's announcements by Nationals, Greens and Labor candidates running for Northern Rivers seats in the next state election that they would all like to see the government further investigate the impacts of water extraction.

"This has obviously been a really hot issue in our community,” Cr Milne said at Thursday's meeting.

"We can't afford to be frivolous and not give this the most oversight we can.”

Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry said she believed the momentum across the Northern Rivers to ban water extraction was growing.

"Our neighbouring shires already don't have commercial water extraction as a permissible use,” Cr Cherry said.

"We need to join together as the Northern Rivers and not have this as a permissible right.”

Tweed Water Alliance spokesman Trevor White supported the Tweed council's stance on changing the LEP.

"It's not the responsibility of the council to demonstrate that water mining is sustainable,” Mr White said during community access on Thursday.

There are several water extraction facilities in the Tweed Shire, with council recently giving the tick of approval for another site in Uki earlier this year.