The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) will open a regional office in Wodonga as part of its broader commitment to increasing its regional presence.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie, said a greater regional presence for the MDBA would benefit both the organisation and basin communities.
“This move is a clear example of the Coalition Government’s decentralisation agenda in action, moving jobs to the regions or outer suburbs of the capital cities so they are closer to the communities they serve,” Minister Joyce said.
“Around 30 MDBA staff are moving out of Canberra into regional offices in Wodonga, Toowoomba and Adelaide within the next two years.
“Having policy, program and corporate staff working from regional centres will improve the MDBA’s understanding of the socio-economic impacts water policies and programs have on people in basin communities, delivering better outcomes.
“It will also allow greater collaboration between state governments, non-government organisations and individuals who live in Basin communities and understand the Basin’s rivers and creeks better than anyone.
“It is crucial every part of Australia benefits from the economic growth and jobs that government agencies can deliver to local communities.
“Basing roles like this in regional Australia will, in the long term, strengthen well-paid job prospects for locals, build skills, boost local economies and contribute to the fabric of vibrant regional communities.”
Senator McKenzie said the co-location of the Wodonga office with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to create a Centre of Excellence would provide a great opportunity for collaboration.
“All four of the MDBA staff who will be working from Wodonga from 1 June 2017 have volunteered to relocate and are excited by the prospect of working more closely with the local community,” Senator McKenzie said.
“These staff will be out and about listening to stakeholders and explaining their work, spending about a day a week engaging with stakeholders.
“Across northern Victoria I have regularly heard there is room for improvement in the MDBA’s communication and collaboration with local communities.”
The Toowoomba and Adelaide office planning is also well advanced with both offices to be staffed by excited MDBA volunteers from early June 2017.