Regulator Grant Barnes Minding a Precious Resource
Grant Barnes is a New Zealander who says he has a bit of mongrel in him, and says he would not hesitate in taking on any New South Wales irrigator who is found to be flouting the law, ABC News reports.
It will be his job to ensure that irrigators across NSW comply with the legal requirements of their extraction licences after a year of speculation and criticism about the behaviour of some NSW irrigators.
Known as the NSW Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR), the authority has stronger powers than previous regulators and can, in the most extreme case, stop irrigators accessing water.
In the four weeks since he started work as the NSW NRAR chief regulatory officer, Barnes has been travelling through the state, meeting irrigators and putting faces to names.
Barnes has recently returned from meeting irrigators at Bourke on the Barwon Darling, a river valley that he had been told was the hot spot for compliance issues in the state.
“We will speak softly and carry a very big stick,” he said.
He said if irrigators were flouting the law he would take stronger measures.
“At the top end of the powers that are applicable is the removal or the lessening of the right to take water,” he said.
“Now that would be quite a punitive sanction to apply.
“Our approach is that of a fair regulator, but there is some firmness, some bite to our powers.
“We won’t hesitate to take action where we see operators flouting the law.”
Original article by Sally Bryant, ABC News, June 2, 2018.
Photo by NSW Department of Industry.