Cotton Australia (CA) supports the actions of water regulators in bringing to justice anyone who has illegally taken water or has broken the law in any aspect of growing their crops.

Moree Plains irrigator Henry Payson Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty to four offences under the NSW Water Management Act and was convicted fined more than $350,000 in the NSW Land and Environment Court.

The court found the company knowingly took water while its metering equipment was not working and built and used a 610ML dam without approval.

Henry Payson Pty Ltd operates 1500ha Binneguy Station in northern NSW - including 152ha of crops irrigated from the Gwydir River.

CA GM Michael Murray said growers are united in condemning any activity where growers knowingly break the law.

“Our industry generates billions for the Australian economy, utilising the latest research and development and technology to get the best out of their farms. They are among the world’s best when it comes to water use efficiency and pesticide reduction.

“When a farmer is found to have done the wrong thing it’s disappointing and they deserve the penalties they receive.

“While there is no justification for water offences, it should be noted that these offences occurred between 2016 and 2018, before NSW implemented wide ranging reforms in regards to water compliance, including creating the Natural Resource Access Regulator.

“It is our sincere belief that the implementation of these reforms has lifted water compliance across the State, and this is a good thing.

“We remind all irrigators to ensure they fully understand and comply with their licence and approval conditions, to avoid any inadvertent breaches of water law,” Mr Murray said.

To read the NRAR media release, click here.