I ask you “What does the Riverina Stand For?” To my mind, it stands for a vastly productive, diverse agricultural region synonymous with clean, safe food and fibre. The combination of flat plains, warm climate, good soils and a good supply of irrigation water has allowed the Riverina to become the largest wine producing region in NSW as well as a major producer of cereal crops, rice, cotton, lamb, wool, beef and chicken.
Given our area’s huge reliance on agriculture it seems unbelievable, even surreal that the NSW government would even consider such an antiquated landfill proposal as has been put forth by Ardlethan Environmental Solutions (AES). To suggest that they are rehabilitating the site, with rubbish no less, is laughable. There is money in waste, and at present no money in tin, hence Australian Tin Resources amazing transformation into Ardlethan Environmental Solutions. Nearly 20 years ago, the commissioner denied approval to an almost identical proposal because of the risks posed to agriculture. Now with environmental safeguards more stringent than ever this proposal should never have seen the light of day.
At our community meeting on June 17, it was very clear that many attendees had serious concerns, among them were Graincorp, NSW Farmers and the Griffith Shire Council. Dumping 14 million cubic metres of loose rubbish on an extremely exposed ridgeline, elevated above the surrounding agricultural region is a major cause for concern.
Sarah Roche, GrainCorp’s regional manager stated that Graincorp “had significant investment here at Ardlethan, $5 million … So this is very significant, this proposed development being so close to our site and what that poses for increased vermin and pests to the Graincorp facility. With potential capacity of up to 200,000 tonnes at Graincorp and Emerald with a similar potential capacity we need to think about what impact that’s going to have, and I’m pretty sure they are not going to want vermin on our trains going to Port Kembla and then on to our vessels. So when we are talking about significance; its locally, regionally, nationally and internationally”.
John Ward, NSW Farmers Executive Councillor for Region 9 and Rural Affairs Committee member stated that biosecurity is one of their greatest concerns and that “the implications of this in 2015 with the imports we have, with the amount of produce that is imported from countries that we didn’t have 10-15 years ago, it would be horrendous if it gets out of control”.
John Dal Broi, Mayor Griffith Shire Council said “we never thought it would raise its ugly head again. There has got to be better ways to grow your community, you don’t need this sort of development that you will pay for, for many years to come – your grandchildren will be saying why did you allow that to happen? March 2012 we had an enormous flood, Yenda went under, the water came from here (Ardlethan)”.
Agriculture in the Riverina is worth in excess of $1.8 billion. The Riverina’s reputation and it’s ability to produce clean, safe food and fibre hangs in the balance. If this proposal is approved, our area will be seen as Sydney’s dumping ground, home to one of the largest landfills in NSW, visible to anyone travelling through our region.
We all need to act now by writing to the Planning Minister, the Agriculture Minister and our local member. They need to hear the united voice of the Riverina standing to oppose this proposal in order to protect the long term future of this region.
Write to our local politicians and become a member of “Don’t Rubbish the Riverina” which gives our group more weight when talking with government. Membership costs $5 per person and can be sent to “Don’t Rubbish the Riverina” PO Box 76 Ardlethan 2665 or direct deposit your money to BSB No: 082 444 A/C No:773712691 and then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your payment. For more information see www.dontrubbishtheriverina.com.
Don’t Rubbish the Riverina Inc.
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