Number of penalty notices issued fell to just 14 in 2016-17, compared with 70 the previous year and 98 in 2014-15

The policing of water licences in New South Wales slowed to a trickle over the 12 months to June 2017, reinforcing allegations on the ABC’s Four Corners that on-the-ground investigations officers have been discouraged from dealing with water theft in the Murray-Darling basin.

Four Corners revealed in July serious allegations of water theft by two major irrigators in the Barwon-Darling river catchment. Whistleblowers who appeared on the program told how they had been stymied in their attempts to bring their concerns to the attention of the Department of Primary Industries and WaterNSW, the agency that took over enforcement in July 2016.

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