Murray Darling move positive for the region

PLANS to set up a new Murray Darling Basin Authority office in Wodonga should be welcomed. 

The Federal Government plans to have about 10 staff from the authority working alongside employees at the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. 

Part of the reasoning behind the move is to bring the decision making process closer to those who are affected by such decisions. 

It’s part of a wider plan by the government to increase the MDBA’s regional presence, with other offices to open in Toowomba and Adelaide. 

Such moves should be lauded. 

Anything that brings jobs to the region – particularly a region hit by major job loses with the closure of several factories in recent years – is positive. 

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s confirmation of the moves on Saturday came not long after Murray Goulburn announced it’s plans to close its Kiewa dairy after more than 120 years in operation. 

The closure will come at the cost of more than 130 employees, who will begin the often long process of seeking out another employer. 

Anything that can be done to minimise the hurt caused by the decision by way of job creation is a positive for the region. 

As Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie said on Saturday, the MDBA news will be a boost to the area. 

“These jobs make a difference,” she said.

“We’re a great place to live but we’re also a great place to do business, so we welcome this news and we look forward to more, we can do so much here in our regions.”

Mr Joyce noted the move would bring the decision makers closer to those impacted by the decisions. 

“The reason we invest in people in Wodonga is so they can get that feedback and get it back to our office and assist us in the decisions we make to try to land this plan with the least socio-economic effect, and for the economic benefit of the people in the area,” he told The Border Mail. 

And while the new office will be on the Victorian side of the border, the benefits will no doubt flow across the river into the Albury region.

The more governments can do to decentralise the decision making process out of Canberra and the big cities, and take onboard the concerns of those on the ground living and working locally, the better we will be for it.