Time to re­view G-MW op­er­a­tion

Shepparton News - Country News - - OPINION -

North­ern Vic­to­ria ir­ri­ga­tors have been left shak­ing their heads at an­other lead­er­ship change at Goul­burn-Mur­ray Wa­ter.

Chair­man Jo An­der­son’s de­par­ture, with­out ex­pla­na­tion, is a state­ment in it­self of the frac­tured re­la­tion­ships at the wa­ter author­ity.

Cor­po­rate con­ven­tion says that if you de­part on good terms, there are the usual cor­dial exit re­marks and best wishes for the fu­ture, but Ms An­der­son has left with a frosty si­lence, very sim­i­lar to the de­par­ture two years ago of for­mer manag­ing di­rec­tor John Calleja.

This sets up the chair and the board for a po­ten­tial con­flict when there is dis­agree­ment over pol­icy and ap­proaches.

This clumsy gov­er­nance ar­range­ment ap­pears to have failed and the best thing the min­is­ter can do is re­vert to a more con­ven­tional ap­proach, where the board sinks or swims on its own per­for­mance, af­ter tak­ing the best pos­si­ble ad­vice from its man­age­ment and con­sul­tants.

The time wasted on this break­down in gov­er­nance is a great pity, as G-MW faces mas­sive chal­lenges in a fu­ture with less wa­ter, fewer ir­ri­ga­tors and in­creas­ing de­mands from the en­vi­ron­ment.

It’s hard to see how the Goul­burn-Mur­ray Ir­ri­ga­tion Dis­trict, in its cur­rent size, is go­ing to be able to sup­port the mod­ernised in­fra­struc­ture costs into the fu­ture.

The Con­nec­tions project, orig­i­nally framed on a smaller foot­print, has been al­lowed to ex­pand to a size that was never en­vis­aged and will carry a cost that re­main­ing ir­ri­ga­tors will find hard to bear. The or­gan­i­sa­tion is also car­ry­ing mas­sive over­heads, and al­though there has been some prun­ing at the Casey St head­quar­ters, a bolder ap­proach is re­quired.

It may be time to look at a re­view of the author­ity and con­sider split­ting the func­tions, to cre­ate a new or­gan­i­sa­tion which is to­tally fo­cused on ef­fi­cient wa­ter delivery.

A re­struc­tured body may also at­tract in­ter­est from cor­po­rate lead­ers who want to be part of a new ap­proach. — Ge­off Adams Coun­try News edi­tor

Win­ter bloom . . . Be­nalla pho­tog­ra­pher RENE MARTENS cap­tured this pic­ture on a foggy win­ter morn­ing near Nalinga.

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