Murray River irrigator slapped with $131k dazzling for unlawful water engage
A country solicitor has been fined more than $130,000 for repeatedly pumping water from the Murray River onto his irrigation property when he modified into now now not authorized to discontinue so.
- Brian Vance O’Haire pleaded responsible to eight counts of taking water in contravention of the Water Management Act
- He modified into charged with taking 1,378 megalitres while his story modified into in deficit between 2016 and 2018
Justice Rachel Pepper chanced on he lacked remorse and modified into a practical threat of reoffending
The offences took build on eight times between April 2016 and September 2018, when Brian Vance O’Haire took 1,378 megalitres of water while his popular security water story modified into in deficit.
The NSW Land and Environment Court heard O’Haire had been warned more than one times between 2014 and 2016, when his story had long past into deficit and WaterNSW officers told him to take more water sooner than persevering with to pump on his property, Tapaulin Farm, discontinuance to Euston.
O’Haire modified into given two penalty infringement notices for taking water while his story modified into harmful in 2015, the court modified into told.
In a voluntary interview with WaterNSW officers in 2016, he conceded he modified into now now not using the water accounting device to preserve observe of his balance.
O’Haire pleaded responsible to eight counts of taking water in contravention of the Water Management Act final July.
He argued he modified into “now now not fascinated with any dishonest behavior” and told the court money waft factors at his moral observe prevented him shopping water in time to irrigate his vines.
As a replacement, he blamed the Natural Sources Accumulate precise of entry to Regulator (NRAR) for failing to exercise its enforcement powers to pause him taking water.
Water taken while device ‘seriously low’
O’Haire had bought Tapaulin Farm as a superannuation investment for himself and his wife but had liabilities of $4 million and his moral observe within the within sight Victorian metropolis of Robinvale modified into funding the farm.
He argued in court that he had suffered extra-curial punishment because his offending had been widely reported in regional media and the coverage will have resulted in his moral observe losing some purchasers.
Nonetheless in sentencing this week, Justice Rachel Pepper acknowledged O’Haire modified into a threat of reoffending and had expressed “no regret or remorse whatsoever”.
“Furthermore, at no level has O’Haire demonstrated any insight into his offending,” she acknowledged.
Hydrologist Sukhdeep Singh told the court storages across the Murray and decrease Darling device had been “seriously low” in April 2016 and that no topic widespread rainfall the next Twelve months, dry prerequisites in early 2018 had build the NSW Murray under stress.
Justice Pepper acknowledged while the evidence about its outcomes on other licence holders modified into limited, O’Haire’s offending will have “contributed to inefficiencies within the water administration device”.
She acknowledged files presented to the court urged O’Haire bought water at a greater mark than the estimated $198,000 he would have paid “had he bought water when required”.
O’Haire modified into convicted and ordered to pay NRAR’s moral charges, moreover to his $131,250 dazzling.