Maules Creek Coal judgement strengthened by enforceable undertaking

Media release | 25 November 2021

The Land and Environment Court convicted and ordered a fine of $200,000 to Whitehaven Coal-owned Maules Creek Coal Pty Ltd yesterday, in a matter brought by the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR).

The coal mine was also ordered to publish details of the judgment in a range of media outlets and to pay some legal costs.

Grant Barnes, Chief Regulatory Officer at NRAR says the water regulator has been working both in and out of court to remedy the illegal water take.

“This judgment needs to be viewed in the context of our complementary work outside of the court room,” said Mr Barnes.

“In addition to the fine, we have entered into an enforceable undertaking with Maules Creek Coal which requires it to take a range of actions including decommissioning a dam and updating its biodiversity management plan.”

“The enforceable undertaking strengthens yesterday’s judgment and highlights the need for regulators to use multiple tools to ensure compliance,” explained Mr Barnes.

For more information about NRAR’s enforceable undertaking with Maules Creek Coal visit nrar.nsw.gov.au/maules-creek-coal

The enforceable undertaking is legally binding and both parties agreed on this course of action as part of the mine operator’s movement to a position of water compliance.

NRAR charged Maules Creek Coal with a breach of section 60A(2) of the Water Management Act 2000 for taking water without an access licence over a three-year period between 2016 and 2019.

For more information about NRAR’s prosecutions, visit dpie.nsw.gov.au/nrar-prosecutions.