The New South Wales water watchdog has had another successful day in court over breaches of the Water Management Act.
- A landholder and construction company fined for illegal works on the Murray River
- 28th case for NSW water regulator with more to come
- Mark Cranny and Kennaugh Nominees Pty Ltd plead guilty
On Thursday, the magistrate in the Deniliquin Local Court accepted the guilty plea of a Moama landholder and a contractor for building illegal constructions on the banks of the Murray River.
Grant Barnes, the chief regulator officer with the Natural Resource Access Regulator (NRAR), said the landholder refused to do remediation work at the site, despite being instructed to do so by compliance officers.
The property owner, cited in court documents as Mark Cranny, was fined $27,000 and ordered to pay $11,000 in legal costs.
The contractor, listed as Kennaugh Nominees Pty Ltd, was fined $11,000 and ordered to pay legal costs of $9,000.
“These are substantial fines in this case and we welcome the court’s decision in this matter and we are very pleased with the outcome,” Mr Barnes said.
This is almost triple the prosecution rate of those allegedly breaching water laws in the two years prior to NRAR’s establishment.
Big cases in the pipeline
Two high-profile cases involving a Moree landholder and two landholders in Griffith are back before the Land and Environment Court in Sydney next week.
They have been separately charged with breaching the Water Management Act 2000 after they allegedly took water in excess of their licences and approvals.
The Moree irrigation company listed for court appearances is situated on the Gwydir River.
Mr Barnes said the Moree irrigation business had been charged with 43 offences, the highest number in NRAR’s history.
He said the alleged offences — including an allegation of building an illegal dam — took place between 2016 and June 2020.
“And it just reflects the breadth of alleged offending and the time over which we believe it’s occurred.”
The maximum penalties range up to $2 million under the Water Management Act.