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.
When Sam Atukorala addresses his children in his mother tongue of Sinhalese, they understand him completely, but they always reply in English.
Mulwala’s own motor racing sensation Steve ‘Harro’ Harrison has won the 2014 Victorian Super Tin Tops Championship.
St Augustines College, Kyabram, has won the inaugural School’s Sustainability Cup for 2014, beating several Melbourne schools.
Stanhope’s Fonterra plant will have cheese flowing again next week after a fire at the plant on Tuesday morning.
Four people, including a father and his two children, were fined more than $18,000 for their role in an alcohol-fuelled brawl at a Lockington party earlier this year which ended in a teenager beaten up and forced into a dog cage.
New faces for Girgarre FNC
A time to include late loved ones in the spirit of the season.
Firefighters were able to save a Finley property's buildings after a large stack of hay bales went up in flames on Monday.
Eppalock Primary School has gone global.
Scout Group hopes to raise funds for World Scout Jamboree through novel 24-hour endurance test.
Forest tour only way to understand impact.
Fodder depots have been set up in Euroa and Thoona for farmers hit by the recent fires.
The rail tracks are in such disrepear V/Line is having to close the buffet car between Euroa and Seymour due to health and safety concerns to hospitality staff.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.