Protestors gather outside the Tweed Shire Council chambers to sound their voice against the water bottling vote in previous years.
Protestors gather outside the Tweed Shire Council chambers to sound their voice against the water bottling vote in previous years.

Expansion of water bottling industry officially outlawed

A GOVERNMENT document released today has effectively outlawed the expansion of the water extraction industry in the Tweed.

New water bottling facilities will not be allowed in rural areas of the shire, however existing approved water bottling facilities are allowed to continue their operations.

In March, Tweed Shire Council voted to remove the clause in the Tweed Local Environmental Plan 2014 that allowed water bottling facilities in the RU2 Rural Landscape Zone.

The wording of the new plan needed to be cleared with the NSW Parliamentary Counsel Office before being rubber stamped by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.

The amendment came into effect immediately today when it was published on the NSW Legislation website, following the completion of a planning proposal process started by the council in late 2018.

Water extraction and bottling industry members vowed to fight the controversial decision earlier this year.

During the public exhibition of the draft Planning Proposal, the council was overwhelmed by support for the amendment which would essentially halt the expansion of the water extraction industry in the region.

<<READ: Industry moves to block council's water bottling decision>>

From August 20 2019 to September 17 2019, 343 submissions were received in response to the exhibition.

Of those, only five were opposed.

Tweed mayor Katie Milne said council staff had done "great work in persevering to provide a very well-reasoned justification for this planning proposal".

She explained the proposal was "based on the precautionary principle, after it was initially rejected by NSW Planning".

"Water extraction has been one of the most contentious issues we have seen in the council.

"It has been a very long and difficult chapter over many, many years and I'm sure the community will be thrilled with the news.

"The community is to be commended for their outstanding campaign of sustained and concerted advocacy to protect the significant rural and environmental values of the Tweed."

<<READ: Why this document is fuelling water war on the Tweed>>

Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry said it had been an outcome long sought after by the current council and the community.

"It is a big step towards achieving the community's desire to move away from being known as the water bottling capital of NSW," she said.

"The proposal was thoroughly examined in light of the Chief Scientist's Report into the sustainability of commercial water extraction in the Tweed Shire which highlighted how little is known about our hydrology and the underground connections which exist.

"This change will help to protect our natural water resources in the Tweed Shire for future generations.

"Amending the local planning laws sends a strong message out there with regards to the community's sentiment on the water bottling industry."

Originally published as BREAKING: Expansion of water bottling industry offically outlawed



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