Fa­mil­iar face takes on new job

Shepparton News - Country News - - WATER TALK - By Ge­off Adams

n engi­neer who played a key role in de­vel­op­ing and ra­tio­nal­is­ing Vic­to­rian water au­thor­i­ties in the 1990s has re­turned to chair the group man­ag­ing the con­tro­ver­sial Con­nec­tions project.

The $2 bil­lion ir­ri­ga­tion up­grade, for­merly known as Food­bowl Mod­erni­sa­tion, is im­ple­ment­ing new tech­nol­ogy and re­build­ing chan­nels around thou­sands of ru­ral prop­er­ties in north­ern Vic­to­ria.

The project, over­seen by Goul­burn-Murray Water, al­most stalled sev­eral years ago and had to get a ma­jor re­boot from the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment to get it back on track.

Former Goul­burn Val­ley Water tech­ni­cal ser­vices di­rec­tor Peter McMana­mon has been ap­pointed chair of the project con­trol group, fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of in­au­gu­ral chair Mike Walsh.

It’s his job to de­liver the project on time and on bud­get.

Mr McMana­mon, 63, has read some­thing of the his­tory of the project and is not fazed by the chal­lenge in work­ing to­wards the 2020 com­ple­tion date.

He said he had man­aged dif­fi­cult projects, knew some­thing about work­ing in ru­ral ar­eas and still had some good con­tacts in the in­dus­try.

‘‘I like a chal­lenge,’’ Mr McMana­mon said.

‘‘Be­fore I took this on, I looked at it. It has ‘good bones’. It was start­ing to re­cover.

‘‘It’s not like tak­ing over a bas­ket case. It was on the mend, had good prospects go­ing for­ward and we could over-de­liver on the out­comes.’’

Mr McMana­mon was work­ing in Queens­land when former chair Mike Walsh con­tacted him.

‘‘Mike had plans to move on and he rang me and told me he was go­ing. He said, ‘Do you know any­one in­ter­ested?’

‘‘I thought it was some­thing I could add value to.

‘‘It was an in­ter­est­ing project for me. It was a great re­gion to live in. I have friends here. It’s still very close to my heart.’’

He will be re­port­ing to both the Goul­burn-Murray Water board and Vic­to­rian Water Min­is­ter Lisa Neville, and said he was com­fort­able with the ar­range­ment.

He doesn’ tseea ‘two mas­ters’ prob­lem.

‘‘When you run a project like this and the PCG, you have to run it as a project, not nec­es­sar­ily as a bu­reau­cracy; that sort of re­port­ing line makes sense, we know we have to fit within a G-MW strat­egy and a state gov­ern­ment strat­egy.

‘‘In Queens­land I re­ported to two min­is­ters.’’

The project con­trol group in­cludes Pat McNa­mara rep­re­sent­ing G-MW, Richard An­der­son from the VFF and se­nior bu­reau­crat Camp­bell Fitz­patrick.

Mr McMana­mon is con­fi­dent of meet­ing the 2020 com­ple­tion date and will be do­ing his best to fin­ish early.

He had al­most re­tired Con­nec­tions Project Con­trol Group’s new chair Peter McMana­mon is no stranger to the Goul­burn Val­ley. af­ter a hec­tic five years on a Queens­land project.

He worked for Goul­burn Val­ley Water be­tween 1990 and 1999 when the former Shep­par­ton Water Board was chang­ing from a sin­gle city water author­ity into a re­gional body.

GV Water even­tu­ally en­veloped a large num­ber of smaller towns, up­grad­ing treat­ment plants and in­tro­duc­ing ef­fi­cien­cies, tack­ling his­tor­i­cal is­sues and trans­form­ing water and waste in north­ern Vic­to­ria from Wal­lan to the Murray River.

He had the op­por­tu­nity of work­ing with former GV Water chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Lau­rie Glee­son, who had a rep­u­ta­tion for driv­ing more ef­fi­cient au­thor­i­ties.

Mr McMana­mon re­calls learn­ing a strong work ethic, per­sis­tence, lis­ten­ing to peo­ple and get­ting an out­come for your busi­ness or or­gan­i­sa­tion.

‘‘He loved his staff and looked af­ter his peo­ple. He was su­per pas­sion­ate; man­aged his own busi­ness ef­fec­tively and wanted to give the best for the Goul­burn Val­ley.’’

Af­ter GV Water, Mr McMana­mon went to Grampians Water in his first role as chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

‘‘It was said to be among the worst per­form­ing au­thor­i­ties in Vic­to­ria and I thought, ‘I couldn’ tdo worse!’,’’ he re­called.

Part of his role was su­per­vis­ing the Wim­mera Mallee pipe­line con­struc­tion, which was cru­cial for many farm­ers and res­i­dents, and was a 10-year pro­gram de­liv­ered in five years.

‘‘We had to merge two busi­nesses there and so ended up man­ag­ing a ru­ral and ur­ban busi­ness.’’

Af­ter Hor­sham he moved to Queens­land, where the south-east re­gion was grap­pling with drought and there was a multi-bil­lion dol­lar at­tempt to bol­ster the water sup­plies.

He set up a spe­cial pur­pose body, Link Water Projects, con­struct­ing about $4 bil­lion of in­fra­struc­ture over about four years.

Af­ter con­struct­ing the project it tran­si­tioned into a statu­tory author­ity to man­age bulk water de­liv­ery for the re­gion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.