SYDNEY mid-tier firm Gilbert + Tobin has advised on the single largest purchase of water for the environment in Australia's history.
The firm advised Twynam Agricultural Group on its sale of river water entitlements to the federal government for the exclusive use of environmental flows. The deal will see the water used to restore the rivers and wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin.
The sale was a core strategic decision by Twynam to realign its agriculture portfolio.
The "historic" deal follows the sale of the group's cotton ginning assets in 2006 and subsequent rural property sales, said Amanda Hempel, a partner in the firm's real estate and projects group.
The sale itself, announced by Twynam in May, was a result of the Kahlbetzer Family shareholders' desire to diversify their Australian business operations.
The transaction led to the NSW Government rushing through an embargo on environmental water trades, which will remain in place until the NSW Minister sees environmental water purchases by the commonwealth from other Murray Darling Basin states.
The firm claims that water law is a growing area of practice. It advises a number of clients on water regulation sustainability and environmental law issues. It is also authoring the Water Law Handbook, to be published by Thomson Legal.