One year after launching three regional offices in the Murray–Darling Basin, the MDBA is further strengthening its regional presence by launching a fourth office and making Regional Engagement Officers a core component of the MDBA.
MDBA Chief Executive, Phillip Glyde, said the solid commitment to a workforce that was present and engaged in diverse parts of the Basin signalled an important shift in approach for the organisation.
“Just over 12 months on from opening the first regional office it is clear that this approach is improving our relationships, information exchanges and general understanding of different perspectives across the Basin,” Mr Glyde said.
“We reviewed our progress and found that we needed to strengthen our activities and presence in the northern Basin to enable us to better connect with local communities. That’s why we have decided to open a new office in Goondiwindi and to appoint new Regional Engagement Officers for the Lower Balonne, Barwon–Darling and Namoi regions.
“This exciting move to broaden our staff network is key to our commitment to an effective and permanent regional presence. The success of the Basin Plan in sustaining the environment, communities and industries into the future depends on strong relationships.
“Our new office in the regional hub of Goondiwindi on the Queensland–New South Wales border is well located to reach Moree, St George, Dirranbandi, Moonie, Inglewood and Roma.
“We expect to have the Goondiwindi office up and running by around October.
“It will start small, and I expect the office will grow to meet our emerging needs. We’ll continue to monitor our regionalisation progress in the coming months to consider building the roles that could be performed as part of the Northern Basin team.
“There is much to do to ensure Basin Plan requirements are embedded across northern New South Wales and southern Queensland and that is likely to mean changes to our regional presence in coming years.”
Mr Glyde said that together the Northern Basin team would work directly with farmers, Indigenous communities, local government and other stakeholders to learn from and address the concerns of people most affected by and interested in the Basin Plan.
“This is an important part of our increased involvement in the north over the next few years, as we work on new measures agreed for Basin Plan implementation and assist state governments to meet their water management commitments.
“The Basin Plan is critically important water reform that stretches from Queensland into South Australia, and we need to build awareness of the Plan’s aims and impacts, knowledge of the rivers and understanding of local communities.”
Mr Glyde said the MDBA’s office network, alongside the Regional Engagement Officers, is helping to improve information exchange with people from a wide range of interests.
“The Basin Community Committee also adds to the depth of local engagement about Basin Plan implementation. Newly appointed in July this year, the committee brings a healthy variety of perspectives on water resource, environmental, cultural and social-economic matters.
“The Murray–Darling Basin Plan is a visionary, long-term path to secure the future for people, industries and the environment. This takes time and a unified effort—and it’s working.”