Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

LLS regional base to be established in Deniliquin

No more jobs will be lost from the newly formed Murray Local Land Services.

ZOE MCMAUGH March 21, 2014 4:30am

Terry Gorman, chair Alex Anthony, Richard Bull, Ken Crossley, Graham Allitt, Jennie Hehir and David Wolfenden.

The newly formed Murray Local Land Services will establish its regional office in Deniliquin and no more jobs will be lost from the formation of the ‘super organisation’.

Murray LLS general manager Gary Rodda confirmed the ‘‘positive news’’ with the Pastoral Times this week following the inaugural meeting of the organisation’s board, which was held in Albury on Tuesday.

Mr Rodda said staffing levels would remain at current levels for the foreseeable future and confirmed his position would also remain in Deniliquin.

He also confirmed that all Deniliquin-based LLS staff would eventually be housed in one office.

The Murray LLS — which is a merger of the Catchment Management Authority, Livestock Health and Pest Authority and the Department of Primary Industries — is expected to select either the LHPA office on Hay Rd or the former DPI building in Charlotte St as its base.

‘‘The head office is in Deniliquin. The board made that decision and I can confirm it,’’ he said.

‘‘Wherever we are located we will have to do renovations because none of the offices are large enough to house all staff.

‘‘The Catchment Management Authority office in Victoria St, where I am based at the moment, is just too small (to be considered).’’

Mr Rodda said at least 70 people make up the Murray LLS staff base, including 30 in Deniliquin.

He said if there was to be any change to staffing levels it would most likely be an increase.

‘‘The restructure occurred last year and it has been finalised,’’ he said.

‘‘We don’t foresee any further job losses as we move into a consolidation and business development phase, but from time to time we may look to increase numbers on a temporary basis for a defined term if we secure project funds for a specific purpose.’’

Mr Rodda, who was a CMA employee before being appointed general manager of the new service in December, described the LLS set-up as ‘‘exciting’’.

‘‘I see LLS going really well. It’s great to have all the people within the service with skills in natural resource management, sustainable agriculture and pest, plant and animal control in one organisation.

‘‘It’s very hard to divorce each of those services when talking about land management.’’

Mr Rodda said his own personal beliefs about the benefits of a combined service and how it was rolled out in the Murray region encouraged him to take on the role as general manager.

‘‘I looked at three key areas,’’ he said.

‘‘One, I looked at who would be chair, and I have immense respect for (chair) Alexandra Anthony.

‘‘Second was the model combining agriculture, natural resource management, biosecurity and emergency management.

‘‘And third was the people I would be working with and who in the community the Murray LLS would be working with.

‘‘I came to the conclusion that these three key areas ticked all the boxes.’’

Mr Rodda also praised the make-up of the Murray LLS board, saying the diversity would bode well for the new super organisation.

Mrs Anthony, a Moulamein farmer who was Murray CMA chair at the time of the LLS transition, was appointed chair by NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson in December.

Also appointed by the NSW Government in December were Finley landholder Jennie Hehir, Holbrook landholder Richard Bull and Rand landholder David Wolfenden.

Three landholder-directors were elected to complete the board. They are Graham Allitt and Ken Crossley from Deniliquin and Terry Gorman from Balranald.

‘‘We have a great mix of directors from across the region – from Balranald to Holbrook – and that is critical in our mind as the board must give strategic direction for the entire region, not just one area.

‘‘It’s great to see a mix of skills and geographical regions represented.’’

While a number has never been confirmed, six local DPI positions are believed to have been lost as part of the LLS merger, however some of those staff members now have jobs within the new structure.

The CMA at the time confirmed up to 13 jobs would be lost from across its entire region as part of the transition.

There were also separate DPI, LHPA and CMA offices in Deniliquin.

The CMA office in Victoria St, Deniliquin is currently being used as the LLS base.

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