Prosecutions begin for water compliance breaches
Water NSW has now finalised lengthy investigations into compliance matters and this week they have begun several prosecution proceedings in the NSW Land and Environment Court.
The prosecutions announced today include some cases concerning a property that was raised in the ABC Four Corners episode, ‘Pumped’, as well as another property that WaterNSW has investigated as part of its compliance activity.
Water NSW is also completing investigations of other alleged illegal water activities in the Barwon-Darling and other water sources and expects to provide further updates regarding enforcement action shortly.
While welcoming the finalisation of these investigations, given that a complex legal process has now commenced it would be inappropriate for me or any other elected official to make any further comments.
The NSW Government has taken a number of steps since the ABC Four Corners report in July last year, including the NSW Water Reform Action Plan which addressed recommendation from the Ken Matthews Report amongst other inquiries.
In November last year, the Government legislated to establish a new independent Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) dedicated to building first-class compliance and enforcement regimes for water in NSW.
The new Regulator recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Murray Darling Basin Authority to assist with all matters relating to compliance and transparency.
As part of the Water Reform Action Plan, public consultations will commence in the coming weeks on a number of proposed changes to the water management regime in this state focussing on information transparency, environmental flows, compliance and enforcement.
We are committed to doing all we can to protect one of our most valuable resources and making sure it is looked after responsibly and fairly by all.
Hon Niall Blair MLC
Minister for Primary Industries
Minister for Regional Water
Minister for Trade and Industry