Transparency call for chief of irrigation
THE shock departure of Tasmanian Irrigation chief Nicola Morris has prompted calls for more transparency around how the organisation is run.
This week, a statement from the TI board said Ms Morris “has ceased employment as chief executive officer.”
In the statement the board thanked Ms Morris for her contribution over the past two and a half years.
An official reason for Ms Morris’s departure has not been announced but the search for a new chief executive will start in early 2019.
In the meantime, TI general manager of water delivery and infrastructure Andrew Kneebone has been appointed as acting chief executive officer.
Primary Industries and Water Minister Guy Barnett said the State Government had been informed about Ms Morris’s departure.
“The reasons for Ms Morris’ departure are a matter for the Tasmanian Irrigation board,” Mr Barnett said in a statement.
The minister said the board, acting chief executive and TI staff had his full confidence to to carry out their duties finalising irrigation schemes already under construction and in progressing the next tranche of projects.
Work will now get underway on securing the required funding for the 10 additional irrigation schemes proposed across the state.
So far the State Government has committed $70 million to the projects in the third tranche of irrigation schemes.
Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association president Wayne Johnston said it was important that the right person was selected to take on the TI chief executive role.
“These things happen and I don’t think we necessarily need to know all the ins and outs.
“Whoever does take on the role in the future, they will need to listen to what the stakeholders are telling them,” Mr Johnston said.
The comments come after a Legislative Council committee report on TI earlier this year, which included five key recommendations.
One of the recommendations was to “ensure that TI continues to be transparent, accountable and responsible to its users including making all relevant information publicly available”.
Another recommendation from the committee included “ensuring that the irrigator groups remaining with TI have the opportunity to provide input into the management of their schemes”.
Mr Johnston said it was important that all the recommendations from the Upper House inquiry were adopted.
“You would hope that when the next CEO is appointed, they will have an understanding of what came out of the legislative inquiry and that they will take that on board,” Mr Johnston said.