Irrigators through the southern part of the Murray Darling Basin will be the long-term winners with a move of Murray Darling Basin Authority staff to Griffith and Mildura confirmed this week.

Farrer MP Sussan Ley has welcomed news that 48 permanent new jobs with be shared between the two regional offices, allowing MDBA officers a much greater appreciation of how the Basin Plan affects local growers and farming communities.

“This move provides Griffith with well-paid and ongoing jobs and a boost in economic activity, ensuring the Authority is on-the-ground, understanding the challenges and emerging threats for water delivery into Australia’s main food bowl.”

“I am delighted by the decision, and also know these staff will be kept busy by the interest and input we will provide them into the Basin Plan. They’ll get that feedback here in Griffith, they’ll certainly receive it one-on-one in Deniliquin, indeed everywhere they visit, from Balranald to Buronga, Tocumwal to Tooleybuc.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals’ Leader Michael McCormack said Griffith is a major regional city in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and it is important to have direct input to the MDBA, which already has a regional presence in Albury-Wodonga.

“There will be a staged transition to ensure it is a smooth process, with a strong focus on continuous consultation with those affected, including staff and stakeholders.”

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said ABS research showed Government jobs were a huge economic driver, creating more jobs.

“The people who manage the river system should live on the river. Country people deserve government jobs as much as city people do, and that’s why I fought so hard to make this decentralisation happen.

“We’re spreading more than 100 jobs across the Murray Darling Basin. In years to come people will highlight the MDBA as a great example of decentralisation.”

103 MDBA positions will eventually be located outside of Canberra, one third of the total staff.