Katrina Hodgkinson did not visit any of the offices affected by Local Land Services while in Deniliquin on Thursday.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson did not visit any of the three organisations affected by Local Land Services during her visit to Deniliquin on Thursday.
The minister met with representatives from eight local councils, irrigator groups, private landholders and other agriculture stakeholders to discuss the Local Land Services proposal and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
However she has been criticised for not visiting the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) or the Catchment Management Authority (CMA) offices.
The three organisations will be joined to form Local Land Services in 2014, and are facing budget and job cuts ahead of the merger.
Riverina LHPA board chairman Butch Lane said it was ‘‘not quite right’’ that the minister was in Deniliquin — where the Riverina LHPA headquarters is located — and did not meet with employees.
‘‘Whether she doesn’t want to talk to LHPA people, we don’t know.’’
Mr Lane said it was ‘‘disheartening’’.
‘‘When we’re all trying our best to do what the minister’s asked us too
A spokesperson from the minister’s office said the primary reason for the minister’s visit was to discuss the basin plan and ovine Johne’s disease (OJD).
‘‘The minister was in town to meet with local councils and representatives from local councils, as well as farmers and landholders about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and OJD,’’ she said.
While disappointed that Ms Hodgkinson did not meet with the LHPA, DPI or CMA, Mr Lane did say consultation had improved compared to last time the LHPA underwent change.
The organisation was restructured about five years ago under the previous Labor government, when Ian Macdonald was the Minister for Primary Industries.
Mr Lane said at that time, Mr Macdonald announced the change at a conference he was opening, and it was not up for debate.
‘‘I think he walked out without even remembering to open the conference,’’ Mr Lane said.
The chairman said it was ‘‘extremely good’’ that consultation was taking place this time.
He said LHPAs were making submissions to the stakeholder reference panel on Local Land Services, and he encouraged landholders to do the same.
‘‘We urge people, whether they’re in favour of the LHPA or not, to get in there and get on the website or write to somebody on the reference panel and let them know their thoughts.’’
To comment on the proposed plan, visit http://haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/locallandservices
Today's Weekend News includes a four-page Christmas lights feature.
It’s been a long journey for Tim Roadley but his dream of creating a multi-sport endurance event on the Murray River is now going to be a reality.
It was a big day for Jye McNeil on Sunday, not only celebrating his 19th birthday, but riding a double at the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club’s meeting, including the big one, the Vraca and Varapodio Italian Plate (1600 m), on the Gerald Egan-trained Jetconi.
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Valley Park Farms' egg production facility is expected to increase production and staff after a $100 000 Victorian Government grant.
Murchison’s Jane Spencer’s first exhibition It Just Dawned On Me will be on show in Shepparton in the first half of next year.
Lisa Milligan has started a new dog grooming business in Heathcote to help fund her Wild ABout Wildlife centre in Kilmore.
A group of volunteers have worked to revitalise the Cobram motorcross track to improve safety and attract new members to the club.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley says plans are in the works on how to get natural gas to Deniliquin.
New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria and Country Fire Authority will be performing planned burns in Goomalibee on Monday.
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