• Tony Bosworth

Freemans Reach market garden fined $47,830 for taking water from Bushells Lagoon over two years

Taking water without approval from the environmentally sensitive Bushells lagoon has cost a Freemans Reach market garden operator a total of $47,830.

The lagoon is classed as an endangered ecological community under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

Cumberland Bird Observers Club has recorded sightings of 133 bird species at the lagoon, including waterfowl, pelicans, black swans, ibis, egrets, falcons, kites, sea eagles, spoonbills, cockatoos, rosellas, corellas, swallows, several duck species, doves, wrens and migratory birds.

In a case heard at Parramatta Local Court on Monday, August 9, Huang Brother Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to

  • 10 charges of using a work approval to take water without approval, an offence under section 60D of the Water Management Act 2000 (the WM Act)

  • one charge of failing to comply with a notice, an offence under s340A

  • one charge of contravening a direction to stop taking water, an offence under s336C.

Ji Bing Huang, the director of Huang Brother Pty Ltd, also pleaded guilty to two charges of using a work approval to take water without approval, an offence under s60D of the WM Act. The offences took place at Bushells Lagoon between October 2018 and October 2020.

The Court fined Huang Brother Pty Ltd a total of $21,600, $1600 each for 10 of the charges, and $3200, and $2400 for the two remaining charges. It also ordered the company to pay $24,630 in legal costs.

Ji Bing Huang was personally fined $1600 for the two offences.

The Court also ordered that the defendants remove the pump from the lagoon under s353B of the WM Act and ordered that they publish the outcome of the case in the local newspaper and the Chinese Daily Herald within 28 days.

To make a confidential report on suspected water misuse, visit NRAR’s website dpie.nsw.gov.au/nrar-suspicious-activity-report

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