One third of Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) staff will be based in regional areas in a bid to build stronger links with river communities.
Currently about 10% of the MDBA’s staff work outside Canberra, with offices in Adelaide, Albury-Wodonga on the NSW/Victoria border, and Goondiwindi and Toowoomba in Queensland.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said a greater regional presence would give the MDBA a better understanding of river management challenges and emerging threats.
“The people who manage the river system should live on the river,” he said.
“Moving government services closer to those they’re there to serve is only common sense.”
New MDBA offices are planned for Griffith in NSW, Mildura in Victoria and Murray Bridge in South Australia.
Littleproud said the roles to be decentralised will vary from senior executives to compliance officers.
“In years to come people will highlight the MDBA as a great example of decentralisation,” he said.
“There will be a staged transition to make sure the process is smooth and both staff and stakeholders are consulted.”
Speaking following the announcement of the new Mildura office, MDBA Chief Executive Phillip Glyde said greater community involvement would be critical to the success of the Basin Plan.
“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,” Glyde said.
“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 River Murray on behalf of Basin governments.”
Littleproud told the ABC the jobs are existing roles, and all staff at the MDBA would be considered for relocation.
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