Greens Candidate for Cunningham Dylan Green said that water is increasingly under threat from unchecked development and fossil fuel operations and he called for stronger environmental laws.
Two local coal mines -- Dendrobium and Russel Vale -- operate underneath the largest special area in Sydney’s water catchment which supplies Sydney and the Illawarra with drinking water.
“These mines are local examples of our failing environmental laws,” Mr Green said. “Continued expansion of coal mines threatens the water security of five million people and probably more than that as Sydney grows in the future.”
In 2014, the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer said that Sydney was the only city in the world that allows longwall mining under their public water catchment.
“It’s crazy that we are jeopardising the water supply of Sydney and the Illawarra by allowing these operations in a fragile environment,” Mr Green said. “Water is only going to become more valuable as climate change intensifies and droughts become more severe. We ought to be protecting our water, not undermining it. We deserve environmental laws that consider the benefits of water to future generations and the natural environment. We currently don’t have this.
“As well as fixing our environmental laws, The Greens want to see an independent watchdog established to enforce them.”