The federal government will relocate one third of the Murray Darling Basin Authority's 300 jobs from Canberra to regional towns.
Mildura is first cab off the rank, today announced as the recipient for at least 20 jobs from the federal agency. More locations across the Basin are expected to be revealed in coming days.
The agency responsible for implementing the $13 billion Murray Darling Basin Plan will see 76 jobs move to regional centres in coming months, on top of the 26 which were relocated in the past few years, bringing to total more than 100 regional positions.
The MDBA has already got skeleton-staff offices in Toowoomba and Goondiwindi in Queensland, Albury-Wodonga on the NSW-Victorian border and in Adelaide, South Australia.
Minister for Local Government and Decentralisation, Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie, said Mildura would welcome the new families that come with the MDBA workforce boost.
“We know that the flow on effects of relocating agencies will drive greater economic and social growth for our regional towns, both direct and indirect, and also brings government services closer to the people and industries they serve,” Senator McKenzie said.
“Relocating jobs to the regions enables young people to have long term career prospects in their local communities and enjoy the benefits of a country lifestyle.”
Water Minister David Littleproud said MDBA decentralisation would benefit the local economy and water policy.
“The people who manage the river system should live on the river," Mr Littleproud said.
"Country people deserve government jobs as much as city people do, and that's why I fought so hard to make this decentralisation happen.”
MDBA Chief executive Phillip Glyde expects the workforce shift to improve implementation of the Basin Plan.
“Further regionalisation is an opportunity for the MDBA to build even stronger links with communities across the Murray–Darling Basin which, in turn, will improve Basin Plan implementation and our management of the Murray River on behalf of Basin governments,” Mr Glyde said.
No timeframe has been set for job relocation and Mr Glyde said the MDBA would be prudent in its planning.
“We won’t rush the regionalisation process and will work through the opportunities and issues methodically in collaboration with our staff to ensure the important work of implementing the Basin Plan and managing the River Murray is not hindered,” he said.