The Nationals candidate for Lismore Austin Curtin is calling on the NSW Government and Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair to launch an independent investigation into water extraction on the Northern Rivers.

Various community groups including the Tweed Water Alliance have raised concerns with Mr Curtin over the impact water extraction operations are having on the water table.

“Water security is an issue facing communities across the country and the public has the right to know what effect industry is having on this important resource,” Mr Curtin said.

“I want NSW Chief Scientist Hugh Durrant-Whyte to investigate, whether the water able to be extracted through groundwater licences on the Northern Rivers is sustainable, and the viability of the bottled water sector in our region.”

“Both Government and the community need to be presented the hard facts,” he said.

Mr Curtin has written to Member for Lismore Thomas George and asked he take the request to Minister Blair.

“It is not the role of government to stop businesses which are legal and operating within their licencing arrangements,” Mr Curtin said.

“Unlike the Greens and the Labor Party, The Nationals don’t ban industries but make decisions which are based on fact and support local jobs and economies.”

“If any investigation finds issues with current water licences, then the government and council must take steps to ensure the sector is sustainably managed into the future.”