Trans­parency call for chief of ir­ri­ga­tion

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

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.

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