Time to review G-MW operation
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.