Murray Valley irrigator representatives will meet Goulburn-Murray Water executives this week over water pricing.CATHY WALKER December 4, 2012 4:00am
Fears that G-MW will take a ‘‘one size fits all’’ approach came off the back-burner when Numurkah farmer Heather Du Vallon went public with a vow to go ‘‘all the way’’ in a quest to uncover what has happened to $5
G-MW has described the missing money as a change in accounting practices and said the group never formally ‘‘owned’’ the money.
But Mrs Du Vallon, a former Murray Valley Water Services Committee chairwoman, questions how the group could have been paid interest on money that did not exist.
‘‘Something is either incompetent or illegal,’’ she said last week.
‘‘It’s absolute rubbish — you don’t get interest on money you haven’t got.’’
Current Murray Valley WSC chairman Barry Croke said he gave Mrs Du Vallon ‘‘12 out of 10’’ for a recent radio interview with ABC Goulburn Murray in which she set out how Murray Valley had saved for future works and approved three price rises.
‘‘I’m very angry,’’ she said in the interview, ‘‘I don’t see that we should be paying debt for other areas.
‘‘I thought the new (G-MW) broom was going to sweep clean — not sweep it under the carpet.’’
On Monday, Mr Croke confirmed he has a meeting at G-MW and pricing was bound to be on the agenda.
But he is frustrated by the impost of a confidentiality agreement that he says is similar to that expected at board level, which WSC members must adhere to.
‘‘You find yourself constrained in what you can say — but we were really zealous over the years (saving money) and we don’t want to lose that,’’ Mr Croke said.
Mrs Du Vallon served nine years on the MVWSC and remains a community representative on G-MW’s groundwater management group.
She said the former NVIRP advisory group for her district, later called Murray Valley Modernisation Consultation Committee, was quietly shut down earlier this year despite still appearing on G-MW’s website.
Mrs Du Vallon, who breeds stud Simmental cattle, said the apparent ease with how G-MW has changed the accounting processes within irrigation districts raised serious questions about what would happen with the former Northern Victoria Irrigation Modernisation Project, now merged within G-MW.
The pricing issue was discussed six months ago at a Murray Valley WSC meeting, which recorded:
‘‘Members discussed the current financial state of the Murray Valley and will seek further information to provide a more in-depth explanation of financial information with a view to ensuring that the Murray Valley area retains its competitive edge in pricing.’’
G-MW managing director Gavin Hanlon conceded in a statement last week that reports ‘‘to our district about bank balances have not been managed well by Goulburn-Murray Water for a number of years’’.
He said: ‘‘We are committed to resolving this issue and we now rely heavily on our Water Services Committees for developing joint solutions and will continue to work (with them) to produce the next draft of our tariff strategy.’’
A draft tariff strategy will be released early in 2013, which Murray Valley irrigators fear will be a ‘‘one size fits all’’ approach — to their detriment.
Shepparton’s Declo Bisimwa firmly believes education is the key to a better life.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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