The NSW Government has launched the state’s independent Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR), marking a new era of water regulation and compliance.
NSW Minister for Regional Water, Niall Blair, said the NRAR will carry out on-the-ground compliance inspections, having already established a new hotline for the public to report any compliance concerns.
“NRAR is the cornerstone of the NSW Government’s water reform package and demonstrates our commitment to improving water management in NSW,” Mr Blair said.
“We’ve met with communities across the state and know that a robust water compliance and enforcement system is vital for maintaining public confidence in water management.
“We’ve wasted no time in getting on with the job and I am pleased to see the regulator hit the ground running with its first compliance mission happening in just a few days.
“Anyone looking to circumvent the regulations and make unlawful, inequitable or non-compliant use of this precious natural resource is on notice.”
NRAR is chaired by former NSW Minister and former Chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Craig Knowles, and the Chief Regulatory Officer, Grant Barnes.
Mr Knowles said NRAR is well placed to take proactive enforcement action from day one, including prosecutions where needed, to protect the state’s precious water resources.
“We have a strong and highly experienced executive team backed by an independent board, and with resources now transferred from WaterNSW to NRAR, we are ready to be fully operational and a leading example of best-practice regulation,” Mr Knowles said.
“We will be adopting a ‘firm but fair’ approach to compliance and regulatory matters, and increasing awareness and education of licence holders’ obligations will be fundamental to improved voluntary compliance.
“But let’s be very clear – we will not hesitate to act should our compliance teams find anyone breaking the law and we’re encouraging the public to call the hotline if they have concerns.”