Water regulator sends strong message

Media release | 15 October 2018

The NSW water regulator has sent a clear message to the community that lying to its investigators will not be tolerated, after a case heard at Walgett Local Court this week.

On October 10 a 35-year-old Carinda man was found guilty of providing false and misleading information to water investigators, an offence under s340A of the Water Management Act 2000.

He was fined $1000 and ordered to pay $5500 in professional costs as well as separate court costs. He was also ordered to publish a notice in either The Land or the Moree Champion stating the outcome of the court case, though he did not have to identify himself.

The case was brought by the Chief Regulatory Officer of the Natural Resources Access Regulator, Grant Barnes. The NRAR was established in April this year to deliver a fair, transparent and enforceable water compliance system in NSW.

Magistrate Claire Girotto remarked that the offence required a “sharp penalty” to send the message that there were consequences for being dishonest.

The NRAR’s Grant Barnes stressed the importance of water users cooperating with investigators, “to allow us to take appropriate action to protect our precious water resources”.

“We have more compliance officers working across the state with water licence holders to ensure they are aware of their obligations for accessing and using water,” he said.

The NRAR has also issued two directions to cotton farms in the Brewarrina-Walgett region to upgrade their metering equipment. This will ensure they install patent approved meters in accordance with the Australian standards, so the NRAR can monitor their water usage.

The NRAR will continue to audit metering on a number of other farms in the area, as well as investigating other matters in the region.

To make a confidential report on suspected water misuse, contact the NRAR Hotline on 1800 633 362 or email nrar.enquiries@nrar.nsw.gov.au.

For further information about NRAR and what it does, visit industry.nsw.gov.au/natural-resources-access-regulator.