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Tony Galati and brother Vincent fined $10,000 for exceeding water allocation

Farmer and businessman Tony Galati and his brother Vincent have been ordered to pay more than $10,000 for the excess use of allotted groundwater at their West Australian farm.

Bunbury Magistrates Court learned that the pair were granted a 1 billion litre water allowance in 2019 to irrigate various crops including potatoes on their farm north of Bunbury. However, meter readings taken by officials from WA's Department of Water Environmental Regulation found the allotment had been exceeded by 180 million litres, or 18 per cent.

Peter Weeks, the defence attorney for the Galati brothers, said the pair had left the supervision of water usage to a manager no longer employed by the Galati Group. "What has happened here is the manager has not kept records. The consequential effect to the systemic failure between my client and the general manager has had a ripple effect going forward."

Weeks added that the growers, like other businesses, were grappling with the "unprecedented crisis" of staff shortages and other logistics impacting the supply chain.

The magistrate said the company should have ensured water was not being over extracted; the pair was charged a total of $10,500 for the offences and a further $951.10c in court costs.


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