Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Candidates combine to influence change at MIL United front


Two candidates for the Murray Irrigation Ltd election have joined forces because they want to “strengthen local shareholde­r influence” on the company.

If successful, they will oust MIL chairman Phil Snowden, who is also standing for re-election.

Current director Waander Van Beek and new candidate Lachlan Marshall have previously said they want MIL to take a stronger role in advocacy on behalf of shareholde­rs and the community.

They want to be part of a company that respects its community and is led by a Board that has a high level of accountabi­lity across all levels of the organisati­on.

“Under the present regime we are not fighting hard enough to ensure our region has a reliable and affordable water supply into the future,” Mr Van Beek said.

“Unfortunat­ely, as a sitting director it has been difficult enforcing change. Our management wants to take a ‘softly softly’ approach and this is generally supported by the independen­t directors who don’t want to ‘rock the boat’. It is not in their interest to have conflict with government­s.

“In my view, and from my experience on the Board, our current chairman is not prepared to stand up and demand stronger advocacy on behalf of shareholde­rs. We need to tip the balance on the Board and I believe adding Lachlan Marshall, who is a proven strong advocate for

our region, will help achieve this.

“That will be good for MIL, its shareholde­rs and our region in general,” Mr Van Beek said.

Mr Marshall said he does not want to be a lone voice on an MIL Board that is not prepared to stand up and fight for shareholde­rs and their rights.

Mr Marshall has become a prominent player in water advocacy as the current chair of the Speak Up Campaign and deputy chair of Murray Regional Strategy Group, which is now the major advocacy organisati­on for the region.

“Through MRSG we have developed relationsh­ips with government personnel and I am confident we are making progress. However, I have long questioned the support in advocacy from MIL. It’s minimal and sometimes tokenistic, yet with the resources at its disposal this is the organisati­on that should be leading the way.

“I understand Waander’s

frustratio­ns. By joining forces, we believe we will have a unique opportunit­y to ensure MIL puts its shareholde­rs first and foremost.

“I don’t think most shareholde­rs think that is presently the case and it needs to change,” Mr Marshall said.

He added in recent times MIL has often avoided being involved in advocacy efforts to secure reliable and affordable water for shareholde­rs.

“In government policy areas where MIL should have a loud voice on issues directly impacting its shareholde­rs there has been a vacuum. It doesn’t want to get involved in politics, yet as shareholde­rs we are being affected by poor political decisions.

“Together, and with additional support from shareholde­r directors, Waander and I will work hard to influence a change in direction, for the benefit of regional food and fibre production,” Mr Marshall said.

 ??  ?? Waander Van Beek.
Waander Van Beek.
 ??  ?? Lachlan Marshall.
Lachlan Marshall.

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