Macadamia nursery prosecuted for water theft

Macadamia nursery pleads guilty to taking water without a licence

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The Natural Resources Access Regulator have prosecuted a macadamia nursery for taking water without an access licence.

The Natural Resources Access Regulator have prosecuted a macadamia nursery for taking water without an access licence.

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Northern Rivers nut nursery fined a total of $16,000 for breaching Water Act.

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A Northern Rivers macadamia nursery has been prosecuted for taking water without an access licence by the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR).

The macadamia nursery company, its manager and the property owner from the Ballina area received a total of $16,000 in fines for breaches of the NSW water laws in Ballina Local Court.

The company pleaded guilty to breaches of section 60A(2) of the Water Management Act (2000), taking water without an access licence and, section 91B(2), using a pump, tank and pipes to take and use water without a water supply work approval.

The breaches took place between June 2016 and July 2018.

The property owner and manager were also fined individually.

Australian Macadamia Society chief executive officer Jolyon Burnett said more than 95 per cent of macadamia orchards in the Northern Rivers rainfed and do not rely on irrigation.

Meanwhile, a company from Lithgow operating a property in the Narrabri Shire Council area is the subject of another prosecution by NRAR, this time in the Land and Environment Court.

The company has been charged with an alleged breach of section 60C of the Water Management Act 2000 - taking water for which they did not have an allocation.

The company is also the subject of separate proceedings begun at an earlier date for alleged breaches of section 91I of the Act, regarding bores on its property.

NRAR's Chief Regulatory Officer Grant Barnes said the public had higher expectations of companies than of individuals.

"Companies should have adequate systems in place to comply with the law; the community expects nothing less," he said.

"It is critical for the integrity of the state's water management system that users of water hold licences and approvals, as failure to do so can harm other water users and the environment."

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