Three Tweed Shire Councillors – Cherry, Cooper and Allsop – attended the public meeting at Uki Hall re water mining on Thursday 19th January . Mayor Katie Milne sent an apology from Melbourne. These Councillors seemed willing to listen and act on behalf of the people.
The gathering of about 180 people expressed a broad range of concerns about the DA . The proponent, former politician Jack Hallam, was not present . Many were worried about TSC getting sued if they do not accept the proposal to extract and sell groundwater, which is legal under current rules. Despite legal complications no one spoke in favour of granting the change from home use of the bore on Rowlands Creek Road to commercial extraction and sale to a Gold Coast bottling company. Many questioned the wisdom of allowing 43-tonne tankers use of narrow, winding country roads and the cost to Council from damage large tankers will cause. The risks to other road users is unacceptable and the costs of damage to roadways and bridges is beyond calculation, but surely more than legal costs to defend a Council decision to refuse water mining in Tweed Shire. The meeting applauded a statement by Scott Sledge, President of NRG, that the water is a public resource which should not be sold off for private gain. Direct action to stop aquifer drawdown is a distinct possibility should political processes fail the community which clearly – and loudly – oppose water mining.
Stella Wheeldon told the meeting that other possible legislation that may affect the decision on the Rowlands Creek Road development is Aboriginal Cross Border Legislation (Federal Legislation).