Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, Ben Franklin welcomed the announcement today by Minister for Regional Water Niall Blair that he has requested an independent review into the impacts of the bottled water industry on groundwater sources in the Northern Rivers.

The NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer will provide advice on the sustainable groundwater extraction limits in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, as well as advice on whether the current or proposed groundwater monitoring bores are sufficient.

Minister Blair said the NSW Government recognises the pivotal role that water plays in regional prosperity and long-term growth of communities.

“Local community members and community leaders have made representations to me on behalf of their constituents and we are taking action,” Mr Blair said.

“I have asked the Chief Scientist & Engineer to investigate the sustainability of groundwater extraction in the Northern Rivers for bottling purposes.

“Water is a finite resource and we are completing this review to make sure that water remains available into the future in the Northern Rivers catchment for all purposes including stock and domestic users and for groundwater dependent ecosystems.”

Mr Franklin said whilst the review is ongoing, Council should not approve any further development applications for groundwater bottling.

“Until we have all the information available, I call on the Council to not approve any further development applications for groundwater bottling,” Mr Franklin said.

“I welcome the NSW Government announcing this inquiry today, it is the only option to ensure that the people of Ballina have all the data on the potential impacts that bottling is having on the region.”

The Chief Scientist & Engineer is expected to provide his initial report by early February 2019, with a final report to be published in mid 2019.

For further information on water extraction, please visit the Department of Industry website.