West Berriquin calls for ‘fresh start’ at MIL
Nearly 90 local landholders representing about 400 farms had constructive discussions about the region’s future at a meeting convened by West Berriquin Irrigators Inc. on Monday night.
The meeting was to primarily discuss recent issues surrounding Murray Irrigation Ltd, and was called before all members of the MIL Board announced on Friday they would resign. It was open to all MIL shareholders and directors.
WBI deputy chairman Andrew Crossley said there was a high level of engagement from everyone who attended, and a determination to achieve a fresh start.
MIL shareholders from across the region, from Wakool to Berrigan, attended the meeting.
“There was constructive input leading to robust discussion on a number of topics and producing motions which were passed, some unanimously,” Mr Crossley said.
He said there was clear support for duly elected candidates Waander van Beek and Phil Snowden to be appointed as directors to the interim board at the conclusion of the AGM on November 28. Under MIL constitution Mr Snowden and Mr van Beek are entitled to appoint four directors to bring the interim board to six.
“There was consensus that the room had faith in the ability of Mr van Beek and Mr Snowden to appoint who they saw fit to fill the positions on the interim board. Clearly those in attendance did not want current board members to be part of the interim or new board,” Mr Crossley said.
Concerns about the recent election process were raised and resulted in the passing of a motion to place the election of directors back to the hands of the Australian Electoral Commission, including using the first past the post system.
Many questions about the independent (and yet to be released) reports commissioned by MIL were raised by shareholders. Feelings about what should be released from these reports were mixed, however a motion was passed that the recommendations and/or conclusions of those reports be made available to shareholders only.
Mr Crossley said many of the motions carried on the evening will be pertinent to shaping the future direction of the company, which was the main focus of the balanced debate.
“Shareholders want to be involved and engaged in setting a new direction and structure for MIL, which is a company that is not only important for the farming businesses represented at our meeting, but for the entire community.
“They want an injection of new blood on the MIL Board. There was a sense of anticipation that we are on the verge of new beginnings and a new era of collaboration,” he said.
“On behalf of West Berriquin Irrigators I would like to thank everyone who made the effort to attend.
“We are on the cusp of exciting times, and recent events have given us an opportunity to evaluate the structure of MIL and perhaps look outside the square when we consider the possibilities for our company and the region,” Mr Crossley said.
He added discussions had already taken place with representatives of MIL to talk about the views expressed by shareholders at the meeting.
West Berriquin Irrigators looks forward to further discussion and working with MIL to help secure a structure that effectively represents the shareholder landholders, Mr Crossley said.