The federal government will relocate one third of the Murray Darling Basin Authority's 300 jobs from Canberra to regional towns.
On Wednesday it was revealed Murray Bridge in South Australia would get 12 jobs, and more than 20 each in Griffith, NSW and Albury, Victoria with more announcements pending.
The decentralisation of the agency responsible for implementing the $13 billion Murray Darling Basin Plan will see 76 jobs in total 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 placed skeleton-staff offices in Toowoomba and Goondiwindi in Queensland, Adelaide, SA and Albury.
NSW Regional Water Minister Niall Blair and Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville lobbied federal government to decentralise the MDBA.
Mr Blair said the agency relocation would have a profound impact on policy, as decision makers would be immersed in the socio-economic impacts of water reform.
“This may seem like a small move to some but I know it will have life-changing outcomes for those who manage the system and most importantly, for the communities who live in the Basin," Mr Blair said.
“The move will mean policy makers have an opportunity to better understand local issues and the impacts that decisions around water can have on not just one community but many.
“Griffith is a prime example of what a community can do when it has access to productive water and how producers and industry can work together to adapt to the changing nature of water use."
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 time frame has been set to complete the job relocations .
“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,” Mr Glyde said.