Member for Farrer Sussan Ley has welcomed a decision by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to increase its regional presence and links with Basin communities, with plans revealed to open offices in Albury-Wodonga, Toowoomba (QLD) and Adelaide (SA).

The MDBA Chief Executive Phillip Glyde today announced that within the next two years about 10 per cent of MDBA staff (up to 30 employees), were expected to voluntarily relocate to the new regional offices.

Mr Glyde said “regionally based staff will help us improve information exchange between communities and the MDBA, strengthen our policy and program decisions through better consideration of local impacts and give communities a better understanding of the MDBA’s work.”

Ms Ley said she had “encouraged both the Authority and Water Ministers to look at a ‘hub and spoke’ model for a while, recognising you can’t just pick a winner and put the whole Authority in one place.”

“This plan to spread out in key parts of the Basin will ultimately allow the MDBA to collect the intelligence, understanding, then take the actions we need in implementing common-sense to the Murray Darling Basin Plan.”

“Authority employees and their families will be able to live and work in our region and take their children to local schools – each becoming part of the community and understanding the unique challenges our river communities face.”

“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 percent figure could grow even further to 50 percent – we might achieve this one day, but this is certainly a fantastic start”, Ms Ley concluded.