Lobster farm concern remains



TWEED canegrowers still have grave concerns about the impact on their industry of the proposed bay lobster farm at Chinderah, despite a meeting with the developers last week.

President of the NSW Canegrowers Association Graeme Martin said he, his deputy Robert Quirk and John Tate (NSW Sugar Millers Cooperative), had met with Michael Dalton and David Hewitt of Australian Bay Lobster Producers (ABLP) last Friday to discuss some of the issues which had arisen over the proposal.

Mr Martin said the meeting had produced "very good and frank discussions", with both sides laying their cards on the table.

He said the major issues of concern to the cane industry raised at the meeting were the immediate and future loss of caneland, the disturbance of acid-sulfate soils, the impact of changes to the behaviour of floods and the potential disruption of established agricultural practices.

Mr Martin said, considering the scale of the project, growers could not understand why the developers did not have to do a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), instead compiling a Statement of Environmental Effect.

Mr Martin said despite assurances from the developers about the particular patch of land, growers were concerned the loss of caneland in Tweed would have an adverse impact on the future viability of the Condong Mill and the entire NSW sugar cane industry.

"If land is converted to another use like aquaculture it opens the floodgates for developers to come in and purchase this flood-prone land for development, any development other than agriculture," he said.

Mr Martin said the growers were able pass helpful information to the developers on the issue of acid soils.

On Friday, the state government further extended the public comment period for the pro- ject by two weeks until January 21.



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