Crayfish farm in pipeline

A CONTROVERSIAL on-again off-again aquaculture farm producing Moreton Bay Bugs near Chinderah is on again -- provided the NSW government approves a new route for a pipeline to the sea.

The company behind the multi-million-dollar plan for the lobster farm on a 148 hectare site on the eastern side of the Tweed Motorway near Melaleuca Station, Australian Bay Lobster Producers Ltd, has applied to the NSW Planning Department for a new route for a pipeline bringing fresh sea water to the farm.

In 2005 the company lost a court appeal against the government's approval of the project but the government intervened to re-validate the approval.

After a series of court cases Tweed landholder Gales Holdings gave up the fight despite fears the development would worsen flooding on some of its land due to embankments designed to protect the bug farm from inundation.

An application to the NSW Planning department proposes a 1.8km stretch of a 5.5kilometre long pipeline to the sea be rerouted.

The company claims the project would initially create nearly 100 jobs and 200 jobs later, involving trades people, process workers, animal husbandry workers, technicians and scientists.

It says it has also given a commitment to the Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council to favourably consider indigenous employment in the project.

Newly-elected Tweed councillor and Greens Party leader Katie Milne could not be reached for comment on the proposal. She had previously opposed the plan, along with other environmentalists, canefarmers and residents in nearby Oxley Cove. who were worried by the odours from the intensive operation have fiercely opposed the plan.

Australian Bay Lobster Producers claim the farm will generate "substantial annual export income" growing up to $100million a year by its sixth year of operation.

It believes it will also give the Tweed the ability to promote Bay Lobster as part of its "unique local/regional cuisine brand, with local establishments having access to a clean and organic quality live lobster, as well as the home of the only soft shell lobster in the world".

Submissions either supporting or objecting to the proposal to move part of the pipeline must be lodged with the NSW Planning Department by Monday October 13.



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