Australia’s peak irrigator representative organisation, the National Irrigators Council (NIC), has appointed a former New South Wales Minister as its new CEO.

Former New South Wales Primary Industry Minister Steve Whan will take over the position from outgoing CEO Tom Chesson from 24 January 2017.

NIC Chairman Gavin McMahon said Mr Whan will bring a breadth of experience in the areas of government, policy and advocacy.

“Mr Whan’s 12 years in New South Wales Parliament, including periods as Minister for Primary Industry, Emergency Services and Rural Affairs, and Opposition spokesperson for Rural Water, including balancing the needs of a very marginal electorate, has equipped him with a wide range of skills which will be invaluable to NIC as it negotiates critical policy outcomes in the area of water and energy,” Mr McMahon said.

“Mr Whan’s more recent experience managing Australian Chamber–Tourism furnishes him with the skills that come from operating on the other side of the government-advocacy desk.”

Mr McMahon said Mr Whan would be joining NIC at a critical time with 2017 being a key period for the finalisation of the implementation of the Basin Plan which aims to ensure that water is shared between all users and the environment in a sustainable way.

“It remains an absolute priority for NIC that the Basin Plan is finalised in a manner that does the least damage to irrigated agriculture in the Basin and irrigation dependent communities,” Mr McMahon said.

Mr McMahon said Mr Whan’s extensive government experience had also given him a broad understanding of the issues impacting on energy pricing in Australia, high on the list of critical issues for much of NIC membership.

Mr McMahon praised outgoing CEO Mr Chesson for his five years in the role.

“Tom’s time at NIC has been marked by a number of significant achievements including the legislating of the 1500Gl cap on water buybacks under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, and placing on the national agenda the extraordinary benefits that will accrue to our river system by releasing European Carp biological control agent,” Mr McMahon said.

Lauren brings a fresh approach to content. While she’s previously written for publications as diverse as Australian Geographic, The Border Watch and Girlfriend, she’s found her true passion in her current role as an editor in the world of energy and infrastructure trade magazines.

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