In hot water

February 16, 2018

Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville speaks to the media in Shepparton yesterday.

Rural water corporation Goulburn-Murray Water is facing a major shake-up, after an external report has found the organisation was in need of urgent change and reforms.

Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville has promised to implement a range of recommendations from the report, through a new panel which will report to her and the G-MW board.

At the heart of the drive for change is the need to keep costs down so irrigators are not faced with excessive prices.

Declining water delivery, due to climate change, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and industry exits, means the corporation is generating less income, but still has to support big assets.

The 25-page report, from the strategic advisory panel chaired by Mike Walsh, made sweeping criticism of G-MW’s governance, asset management, corporate structure, capital project delivery and engagement with customers.

The report noted the organisation had five managing directors and two interim managing directors across 10 years.

Ms Neville briefed the G-MW board, including managing director Pat Lennon, about the report on Wednesday and yesterday spoke to State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed and the Victorian Farmers Federation.

The recommendations, which will be implemented by 2020, include:

●Creating a simplified business structure for better community transparency;

●A transformation panel will be appointed to drive the changes necessary;

●Reducing operating and capital costs to ensure prices remain affordable;

●Better managing and using G-MW assets into the future and delivery of capital projects;

●A new customer engagement program to improve customer and stakeholder trust, and performance management;

●Developing a more transparent reporting framework to explain costs, financial performance and project updates to customers and the board.

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