THE National Irrigators Council (NIC) has welcomed action taken by the NSW Government to take accusations of water theft against two Northern Basin irrigators to court.
“Irrigators have zero tolerance for water theft, water theft rips off other irrigators as well as the environment, and it destroys community confidence. If these accusations are proven then we would expect a punishment that acts as a deterrent for illegal activity,” NIC CEO, Steve Whan, said.
“Of course, we do need to remember the presumption of innocence. Both accused have denied wrongdoing and we welcome the fact that they will have the opportunity to test their position in court.
“We have been disappointed with the time it has taken to have these allegations tested in the court.
“And we have been very disappointed that a flawed enforcement system has meant opponents of the basin plan have been able to tarnish the 99.9 per cent of irrigators who have no accusations against them.”
Mr Whan said resolving the allegations was very important and the announcement was a welcome step toward that.
“It is also very important to note the huge amount of work that has been done overall to improve compliance over the past seven months,” he said.
“NSW Minister Blair deserves credit for the prompt and extensive action he has taken to rectify long term problems with the Governments compliance regime.”