Lockyer Valley mayor Tanya Milligan has expressed her outrage at the approval of six bores for Toowoomba Second Range Crossing constructor Nexus Infrastructure.
At a press conference held at the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre today, mayor Milligan said the approval of the permits, in the Helidon Sandstone aquifer, would negatively impact on farming operations.
Cr Milligan said Lockyer Valley farmers were unable to get permits for bores due to a moratorium and she was angered water would be wasted for construction purposes.
“The permits for the bores are up to 695megalitres, that’s the equivalent of 278 Olympic-sized swimming pools,” Cr Milligan said.
“Nexus, under that permit, have the capacity to actually suck water out of our aquifers until the end December in 2018.
“For us, that amount of water is equivalent to three years’ worth of water on an average size broccoli farm, which could possibly yield back to the farmer an average of $11million and about 40 jobs.
“So, for us, it’s a huge issue.”
Cr Milligan said the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing was a vital piece of infrastructure but alternate water sources needed to be found.
“The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing is fabulous and great for Toowoomba, but sucking water out of our aquifers is just definitely not the go,” she said.
Cr Milligan said LVRC had sent correspondence to a number of state government ministers including the Minister for State Development, Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham and Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Leanne Donaldson but had not received a response.
“The politicians are out there banging the drum about how important agriculture is, and that’s fabulous because things are great here in the Lockyer Valley, but I think it’s a bit rude the fact that our own farmers can’t even have permits for the water,” she said.
“The water they’ll be getting will be used on landscaping and construction whereas we are using it for produce.”
Minister for State Development, Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham said any water extraction would not affect existing users.
“Nexus are being given access to a short-term take from about half a dozen bores,” he said.
“My Department of Natural Resources and Mines is working closely with them and there are very strict conditions.
“Any landholder with concerns should call DNRM’s Toowoomba office.”
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