The Andrews Government is establishing an advisory panel of experts to support Goulburn-Murray Water in ensuring a prosperous and productive irrigation district across northern Victoria.
The advisory panel will report to Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville and the G-MW Board, and will provide options to ensure G-MW is best placed to take advantage of the $2billion Connections project.
The panel will also provide advice on how to deliver efficient, cost-effective services to G-MW customers, and any changes to current strategic direction, and how to promote and encourage further investment in the region.
The panel will consist of former Connections project chairman Mike Walsh, former Victorian Water Industry Association director David Heeps and finance guru Suzanne Ewart.
‘‘I have established a Strategic Advisory Panel to drive investment in the region and support G-MW to ensure cost-effective services are delivered for customers and better support the irrigation district into the future,’’ Ms Neville said.
‘‘We want to build confidence in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District and G-MW can play a vital role in leading regional development and prosperity in the region.’’
The panel is the result of the community identifying the need for a clear strategic direction for the region to provide confidence in a sustainable, cost-effective irrigation district and ensure local landholders and growers have confidence to continue to grow their businesses.
G-MW chair Jo Anderson said discussions with Ms Neville had found that extra expertise was needed.
‘‘I have spoken to Minister Neville about our strategic direction and we agree that this extra expertise will support us in implementing plans for G-MW into the future,’’ Ms Anderson said.
Shadow Water Minister Steph Ryan disagrees.
‘‘The Minister for Water must come clean on what has prompted another review into Goulburn-Murray Water,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘The advisory panel announced today is the third body created in two years to advise on G-MW projects and strategic direction, and suggests the government lacks confidence in the organisation.
‘‘The minister must explain to customers and key stakeholders exactly what the issues are, and provide an opportunity for the community to contribute to the review process.’’
The panel will provide recommendations to Ms Neville and the G-MW Board in January.