Taking water without approval from an environmentally sensitive lagoon cost a Freemans Reach vegetable garden operator $ 47,830.
In a case heard in Parramatta Local Court on Monday August 9, Huang Brother Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to:
- 10 counts of using a work authorization to draw water without authorization, an offense under article 60D of the Water Management Act 2000 (the WM Act)
- a charge of failure to comply with a notice, an offense under section 340A
- a charge of contravening an instruction to stop taking water, an offense under section 336C.
Ji Bing Huang, director of Huang Brother Pty Ltd, also pleaded guilty to two counts of using a work permit to draw water without a permit, an offense under Section 60D of the WM law.
The offenses took place at Bushells Lagoon between October 2018 and October 2020.
The court fined Huang Brother Pty Ltd a total of $ 21,600, $ 1,600 each for 10 of the charges, and $ 3,200 and $ 2,400 for the other two charges. He also ordered the company to pay $ 24,630 in legal costs.
Ji Bing Huang was personally fined $ 1,600 for the two offenses.
The Court also ordered the defendants to remove the lagoon pump under Section 353B of the WM Act and ordered that they publish the outcome of the case in the Hawkesbury Gazette and the Chinese Daily Herald within 28 days.
Bushells Lagoon is classified as an endangered ecological community under the Endangered Species Conservation Act 1995.
The Cumberland Bird Observers Club has recorded sightings of 133 species of birds in the lagoon, including waterfowl, pelicans, black swans, ibises, egrets, hawks, kites, sea eagles, spoonbills, cockatoos, rosellas, corellas, swallows, several species of ducks, doves, troglodytes and migratory birds.