The final decentralisation announcement for the Murray Darling Basin Authority dripped out today, with news that the federal water agency is relocating 20 more workers to Goondiwindi, Queensland.
Federal Water Minister David Littleproud said senior decision-makers would be among those who moved, with the goal of enhancing the MDBA’s understanding of the communities impacted by the $13 billion water reform.
More than 100 of the MDBA’s 300 strong workforce will be relocated from Canberra to regional centres across the Basin states.
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.
Those new regional positions come on top of the 26 regional engagement officers which were relocated in the past few years, bringing the total to more than 100.
There are currently six engagement officers in Goondiwindi, bringing the total local workforce to 26.
Mr Littleproud said it was an historic achievement in the course of the Basin Plan.
“Those that manage the river should live on the river,” he said.
Mr Littleproud said some positions would be relocated by the end of the year, and all positions would be moved within two years.
“This is an enormous investment in communities. This is about saying ‘we understand the pain you've gone through, but we are going to work through this plan.
It's not perfect but it's the best one we can get.”
Speaking in Goondiwindi today, MDBA chief executive Phillip Glyde welcomed the government’s decentralisation push.
“It’s great to be here today to see the support from the community for our staff. The work we do is important in delivering a sustainable Basin across its one million square kilometres and input from communities like Goondiwindi will help us to that more effectively,” Mr Glyde said.