NRAR enforcement actions increase in July quarter despite statewide lockdown

Media release | 14 December 2021

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) took more enforcement actions between July and September than any other quarter in the previous 12 months, even though NSW was in lockdown.

NRAR’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Grant Barnes, said NRAR utilised a combination of ingenuity and technology to finalise 911 investigations in this quarter, which was almost five times the number of cases concluded between April and June.

“While the statewide lockdown meant we conducted less than five on-farm inspections between July and September, there was an unexpected silver lining to the NSW public health orders requiring us to stay home,” Mr Barnes said.

“We used satellites and smart data to audit more than 600 properties remotely and our officers spoke to water users over the phone to investigate cases.”

“The results highlight the strength of our technology and an ability to adapt to changing circumstances.”

“New and emerging technology is just one of the many tools used by our investigators and during the lockdown those work methods have shown their value,” Mr Barnes said.

NRAR took 152 enforcement actions during this time period which included 69 directions or stop work orders, 32 penalty notices, and 51 formal warnings or official cautions.

”It would be foolish for water users who are breaking the rules to think they can get away with breaches just because we weren’t able to get out to farms.”

“The results for the July to September quarter clearly show that, despite the pandemic and its associated lengthy lockdowns, NRAR is continuing to do its job to ensure the ongoing sustainability of water management and to enforce water regulation in NSW,” Mr Barnes said.

NRAR’s digital reporting tool divides NSW into 14 water management regions: Barwon-Darling and West, Murrumbidgee, Murray, Clyde, Lachlan, Macquarie-Castlereagh, Namoi, Gwydir, Border Rivers, North Coast, Far North Coast, Hunter, Central Coast, and Greater metro.

For more information about how compliant your area was with NSW water laws in the past quarter, visit: NRAR’s quarterly compliance dashboard.