The Managing Director of a major NSW water utility has been appointed the new Chief Water Officer for the NSW Government, effective 1 July 2019.

Jim Bentley, who has been with Hunter Water since 2016, will join the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, and will be responsible for negotiating with other jurisdictions and the Commonwealth to make sure the state has sustainable and affordable access to water.

During his time with Hunter Water, Mr Bentley has successfully led the organisation’s performance in aggressively reducing leakage, improving customer service and experience, and developing much stronger engagement with the Hunter region through the Love Water campaign.

Hunter Water Chairman, Terry Lawler, said the opportunity was reflective of these achievements and many others in the three years of Mr Bentley’s tenure.

“On behalf of Hunter Water, I’m very pleased for Jim to receive an opportunity to bring his strategic vision and capability to such an important role in the state’s water management.

“We’re of course also disappointed that Jim won’t be at the helm of Hunter Water in the short term, and perhaps beyond, but we take pride that our loss is New South Wales’ gain, especially at such a critical time with the prevailing drought conditions across most of the state.

“We will now quickly act to have interim arrangements in place whilst we plan a permanent successor to Jim. We will provide updates in due course,” said Mr Lawler.

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