ALBURY-Wodonga has been chosen as one of three locations where up to 10 Murray Darling Basin Authority employees will be working within two years.
Toowoomba and Adelaide will also get a similar number of MDBA workers as part of the authority's attempts to strengthen its regional presence and connect to basin communities.
The 30 jobs, which represent about 10 per cent of the MDBA workforce, will be filled by employees who voluntarily want to relocate from Canberra to the three chosen destinations.
No decision has been made on whether the MDBA office will be located in Albury or Wodonga, but lobbying has already started by both councils to secure the jobs.
Funding for the regional offices will be drawn from existing budget allocations from the federal government.
MDBA chief executive Phillip Glyde said he was confident the decentralisation plan would be managed through voluntary relocation of existing staff to the Albury-Wodonga, Toowoomba and Adelaide offices.
“The next step for us is to continue consulting with our staff to identify those with an interest in moving to one of the regions while we lock in accommodation in these centres,” he said.
Farrer MP Sussan Ley welcomed the announcement and hoped MDBA staff numbers in basin communities could grow even further.
“I have encouraged both the authority and water ministers to look at this hub-and-spoke model for a while,” she said.
“You can’t just pick a winner and put the whole authority in one place.
“I would actually like to have an MDBA presence in every single town in my electorate, and across the basin for that matter.
“I also hope that 10 per cent figure could grow even further to 50 per cent.”
Mr Glyde anticipated policy, program and corporate roles would be relocated from Canberra.
“We’re confident we’ll be able to attract suitably skilled staff to perform the varied roles required to deliver the MDBA’s work at the locations we have selected,” he said.
Mr Glyde said the three regional offices would complement the MDBA’s trial of regional engagement officers.
“These regional offices combined with our REO network will ensure that we have a physical presence in each basin state,” he said.
The Wodonga-based North East Catchment Management Authority is hosting one of the six REO positions.