KEEPING services affordable will be one of the key focuses for North East Water’s incoming chairman.
David McKenzie will head up the utility’s board after being appointed by Minister for Water Peter Walsh.
He comes to the position after serving six years as a director at neighbouring Goulburn Valley Water — a role that has served him well in preparing for this next step.
“The challenges here are the same for any regional water business,” he said.
“And that is to maintain our assets and infrastructure at an affordable cost to customers.
“Cost of living is always going up, and we need to change enough to keep up with that, and keep reinvesting.”
Having lived in Shepparton for more than 20 years, Mr McKenzie knows regional centres and said he has a passion for working with communities.
“I’ve spent 90 per cent of my life in small towns so I understand the pressures they face,” he said.
“I’ve got a good feel for regional communities and what makes them tick.”
A property valuer by trade, Mr McKenzie describes himself as “a generalist”, using his skills in a wide range of areas to inform his role, instead of coming at it purely from a retail or financial perspective.
As a property valuer, he has specialised in valuing agricultural property and water rights, and is regarded as one of the foremost experts in Australia in water asset valuation.
“I guess in my career I’ve long been interested in water ... and I’m really delighted to be able to come here and add value to it,” he said.