Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Irrigation leader resigns

After leading the Southern Riverina Irrigators through one of the hardest times for farmers, Ted Hatty has stood down as its chairman.

ZOE MCMAUGH February 21, 2013 4:54am

Ted Hatty on his Tocumwal property 'Langunyah'.

After seven years at the helm of Southern Riverina Irrigators, Ted Hatty has stepped aside to make way for a ‘‘new face’’.

The former chairman said he felt it was time to ‘‘let someone else have a go’’.

Taking up the challenge and elected at last week’s AGM was Jerilderie farmer Denis Tinkler.

Mr Hatty, a Tocumwal farmer, has led Southern Riverina communities through some of the toughest fights as chair of SRI.

‘‘When I first started, the first issue to come across my desk was the sale of the Snowy Hyrdo scheme — which was an interesting time.

‘‘I had only been in the job a few weeks.’’

Since then, Mr Hatty said the challenges kept coming, including the compulsory acquisition of water and subsequent fight for compensation and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

It all came at a time when the district was wrestling with a decade-long drought and consecutive years of zero water allocations.

‘‘It has been very rewarding and I have enjoyed the job, while also mindful it has been challenging as well.

‘‘I’m looking forward to a change but I do have some fond memories.

‘‘I still have a keen interest in water issues and I will not disappear from the organisation completely.

‘‘I’m still the SRI delegate on the NSW Irrigators’ Council and I’m only too happy to help out where I can.

‘‘There just comes a time when you need a fresh face, and a sign of a healthy organisation is that there is someone there to be that fresh face.’’

Mr Hatty said Mr Tinkler’s current and previous irrigator group roles, and his wide knowledge of the industry, make him an ideal choice for the top job.

‘‘I think Denis will be very good in the role.

‘‘He has a great history of being involved in water, and his knowledge is enormous.

‘‘Denis was involved in the privitisation of Murray Irrigation Limited and was a director of MIL, and his sound knowledge of the company has been useful to SRI.’’

Mr Tinkler, 62, is a rice and meat sheep farmer. His ‘Grantham’ property is between Jerilderie and Finley, and he also owns a farm in Coleambally.

He was a founding member of MIL and has served on the company’s advisory committee and then the board of directors.

‘‘I lost the ballot in 2000 and left MIL, and then decided farming was where I wanted to be,’’ Mr Tinkler said.

‘‘I then took an interest in water politics and joined SRI.

‘‘I’m passionate about the need of SRI as an advocate for irrigators and irrigations.

‘‘And I give Ted credit for the years he has put in, which has probably been the most difficult time.’’

Mr Tinkler is also a former chair of the Berriquin Ricegrowers Association of Australia (RGA) branch, is a representative of the NSW Irrigators’ Council and a delegate of the Berriquin Landholders’ Association.

Other executive members announced at the recent SRI AGM include Wakool Landholders’ Association chair David May as senior vice chair and Deniboota Landholders’ Association chair Alistair Starritt as elected junior vice chairman.

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