Re­gion ig­nored

Shepparton News - Country News - - FRONT PAGE - By Alana Chris­tensen

Six per­ma­nent lo­cal en­gage­ment of­fi­cers have been ap­pointed across the Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin but none are based near the Goul­burn Val­ley.

An­nounced by the Com­mon­wealth En­vi­ron­men­tal Wa­ter Holder last week, the of­fi­cers will be based in Wodonga, Wagga Wagga, Mil­dura, Tam­worth, Wal­gett and Berri and will work with com­mu­ni­ties to pro­tect rivers and wet­lands.

The per­ma­nent ap­point­ments come fol­low­ing a three-year trial across six lo­ca­tions that in­cluded De­niliquin and Mil­dura.

NSW com­mu­nity group Speak Up la­belled the de­ci­sion not to place a per­ma­nent of­fi­cer in De­niliquin or sur­round­ing ar­eas a ‘‘slap in the face’’.

‘‘It is be­gin­ning to look like we ask too many ques­tions, which de­part­ments don’t like to an­swer,’’ Speak Up spokesper­son Shel­ley Scoullar said.

‘‘Per­haps the CEWO (Com­mon­wealth En­vi­ron­men­tal Wa­ter Of­fice) is more com­fort­able hav­ing its Rive­rina of­fice in Wagga Wagga, where the Rive­rina en­gage­ment of­fi­cer will be based, which is far re­moved from where most of the ex­ces­sive en­vi­ron­men­tal flows are tak­ing place.’’

A spokesper­son for the Com­mon­wealth En­vi­ron­ment Wa­ter Of­fice said of­fi­cers based in Wodonga and Wagga Wagga would cover a re­gion from north­ern Vic­to­ria to the Lach­lan, in­clud­ing the midMur­ray and Mur­rumbidgee ar­eas.

‘‘The lo­ca­tions that have been cho­sen re­flect the need to have a bal­ance across river val­leys and state borders,’’ the CEWO spokesper­son said.

‘‘As has been the case dur­ing the pi­lot pro­gram, lo­cal en­gage­ment of­fi­cers will be trav­el­ling reg­u­larly across their re­gions en­gag­ing with com­mu­nity mem­bers,’’ the spokesper­son said.

Goul­burn Val­ley En­vi­ron­ment Group pres­i­dent John Pet­ti­grew said he was sur­prised to see no rep­re­sen­ta­tive within the Goul­burn Val­ley or Rive­rina re­gions.

‘‘I thought it was a long gap for us (be­tween the clos­est lo­cal en­gage­ment of­fi­cers), we seem to be in the mid­dle of nowhere in the Goul­burn Mur­ray Ir­ri­ga­tion District.’’

For­mer North East Catch­ment Man­age­ment Author­ity catch­ment co-or­di­na­tor An­thony Wil­son will fill the Wodonga role while Richard Min­tern will con­tinue in the job role in Mil­dura.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion also an­nounced the ap­point­ment of its first Abo­rig­i­nal lo­cal en­gage­ment of­fi­cer with Yuwaalaaraay/ Euahlayiand and Kami­laroi tra­di­tional owner Ja­son Wil­son to be based in Wal­gett in north­ern NSW.

Wagga Wagga lo­cal en­gage­ment of­fi­cer Erin Lenon will con­tinue in the role she has held for the pre­vi­ous three years, build­ing on her ex­pe­ri­ence as a flood­plain ecol­o­gist and for­mer staff mem­ber of Rive­rina Lo­cal Land Ser­vices.

For­mer Mur­rumbidgee Land­care co­or­di­na­tor and Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Author­ity em­ployee Made­line Gorham is act­ing en­gage­ment of­fi­cer while Ms Lenon is on ma­ter­nity leave.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.