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.
Community support needed for drug and alcohol treatment centre near Numurkah.
Yarrawonga/Mulwala's largest ever professional golf event, the Shepparton BMW Senior Victorian Open, got underway today with 124 players hitting off from 8am to 1pm on Yarrawonga's Black Bull Golf Course at Silverwoods.
Tatura’s rainfall for the last three months of 2015, 116.6mm, was marginally down on the long-term average for the same period, 120.8mm.
JON Lam’s exhibition Heart to Art will open at Alton Gallery on Friday
THE second annual Christmas town party in Lockington did not quite attract the crowd organisers were hoping for, but it failed to dampen their spirit.
Special supplement in this weeks edition
For Tocumwal’s Lynda Snowden, working the land hasn’t stopped her from falling in love with the majestic surrounds of her day to day life.
TOOLLEEN Recreation Reserve Committee of Management presented three awards on Australia Day in front of 80 local residents.
The cuteness level at Maryanne Ryan’s place is overflowing the bucket, with the arrival of baby Dougal the donkey.
Deniliquin doctor Marion Magee says she is disgusted with the treatment of local nurses.
Federal Member for Murray Sharman Stone has been criticised by two Victorian MPs for suggesting the Federal Government should stop spending money on the $2 billion irrigation modernisation program until problems are sorted out.
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