Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Connections project causes disconnect

Goulburn-Murray Water’s Connections project has become a bigger issue than price for some irrigators, according to a water services committee chairman.

ALEXANDRA BATHMAN August 12, 2014 3:20am

Jason Andrew

Murray Valley Water Services Committee chair Jason Andrew said the project was a concern for irrigators.

‘‘We have some concerns. It’s causing a real divide between farmers because some are connected and some are not,’’ he said.

Mr Andrew said he questioned how the authority would get the project completed on time and referred to a G-MW diagram published in the Water Talk feature in Country News last week.

‘‘To do the work they need double the amount of people, which it looks like they don’t have.

‘‘They (G-MW) didn’t meet targets in 2013-14. If you can only just make targets or miss them it doesn’t make sense to double the work.

‘‘A positive would be if they can do it, it would put the project back on track.’’

Mr Andrew said he would also like to see fixed charges lowered because they were not based around water usage.

‘‘It’s all about risk. It would be fair to share the risk with fixed pricing.

‘‘Lowering the fixed prices would encourage water usage.’’

Central Goulburn Water Services Committee chair Peter Hacon said the Connections project was an important topic and more young people should join the WSC discussions.

‘‘If you look through the committee members you would notice that the average age would be around 50. I would love to see younger people on board,’’ Mr Hacon said.

‘‘Why haven’t we got these young people on board? You can’t force them to do it but if you want to know what’s going on in the industry you need to be involved.’’

Mr Hacon would also like to see more interaction between the G-MW Board and customers.

‘‘There is always room for improvement,’’ he said.

Irrigators’ concerns will be tackled by 10 new members on water services committees.

With 15 members reappointed, there are 117 members across the region to represent the views of irrigators and rural water users.

G-MW Board chairman Llew Vale said water services committees members helped inform G-MW policies and local operations in critical areas such as pricing, service standards and asset management.

‘‘It’s fantastic to have 10 new members on our water services committees to offer their help and advice,’’ Mr Vale said.

The new members are: Daniel Mongan, Central Goulburn; Patrick Connolly, Murray Valley; Russell Robins, Torrumbarry; Craig Winnell, Goulburn Broken; Richard Carter, Ross McKinstry and Hilary Jankelson, Loddon Campaspe; and Robert Cook and Allan Curtis, Ovens/King/Mid Murray.

Mr Vale also congratulated the 15 reappointed members.

‘‘This is also an opportunity to recognise the members who have retired or resigned from their positions,’’ he said.

‘‘People like Morris Brown of the Goulburn Broken Water Services Committee, John McKinstry and William O’Connell from the Loddon Campaspe Regional Water Services Committee, who have served for 40, 34 and 14 years respectively.

‘‘In the Rochester area, William McMinn has retired after 25 years, in Shepparton Jamie Craig and Rien Silverstein have served for 11 and eight years respectively and in Torrumbarry Grant Davies has been a member for two years.’’

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