SAFETY FEARS: An aerial shot from 1968 of the shed which allegedly stored Agent Orange chemicals and which was directly above a bore.
SAFETY FEARS: An aerial shot from 1968 of the shed which allegedly stored Agent Orange chemicals and which was directly above a bore. Contributed

Fears over Agent Orange on North Coast

CONCERNED residents have formed Tweed Water Alliance after development applications for commercial water extraction in the shire.

The group, which originally formed in response to a DA to extract water from a private bore on Rowlands Creek Rd, Uki, has welcomed residents from across the shire to join the fight against water extraction applications.

Founding member Jeremy Tager said the alliance was a chance to combat water problems throughout the area.

"There was high levels of community concern about granting DAs, the water extraction that was allowed and the failure to respond to breaches," Mr Tager said.

Mr Tager told the Tweed Daily News the alliance wanted to end to privatisation of water on the Tweed and improve water policy.

One of its first actions is to investigate claims Agent Orange, a highly toxic chemical herbicide used during the Vietnam War, was housed near the bore named in the Rowlands Creek Rd DA.

These claims were made by the original owner of the Rowlands Creek Rd property, who wanted to remain anonymous.

Mr Tager said the chemicals which made up Agent Orange and often contained the highly toxic dioxin chemical, were stored on the property in four-gallon drums for weed control.

"It was stored as weed control so presumably it was sprayed on the property," he said.

 

Jim Williams, Jeremy Tager, Madeleine Murray and Trevor White are some of the members of the Tweed Water Alliance.
SAVING WATER: Jim Williams, Jeremy Tager, Madeleine Murray and Trevor White are some of the members of the Tweed Water Alliance. Contributed

He said Jack Hallam, the owner of the property seeking to commercially extract water, claimed in his application there had been no activities on the site that could lead to contamination.

"Mr Hallam obviously did not make even basic inquiries about the historical use of chemicals on the land and for him to claim, without evidence, that contamination was of no concern, is deeply misleading," Mr Tager said.

"There are many in this area who could have given him a more accurate history if he'd cared to ask or investigate," he said.

But Mr Hallam told the Tweed Daily News he believed these were "fanciful claims" and there was "no evidence" Agent Orange had been stored on his property.

"The whole property of 7.5 acres has been de-stocked for at least eight years," he said.

"It's absurd and I don't know who would store Agent Orange on my property."

A Tweed Shire Council spokesperson confirmed it was not aware of Agent Orange being stored on the property until it was raised in the media.

"We are not aware of any specific request for a contamination report unless it has been raised in the public submissions, which have not been fully assessed at this point," the spokesperson said.

"(The) council will be requesting more detail on water testing."