New independent Commonwealth water regulator the Hon. Troy Grant will open his South Australian field office in Loxton on Thursday, September 23.
“I am looking forward to meeting more Riverland community members, catching up with many I have met previously and visiting places we have heard so much about,” Mr Grant said.
Mr Grant will join Federal Member for Barker Mr Tony Pasin MP in welcoming community members to the new site at the Loxton Agricultural Research Centre.
Mr Pasin said: “Strong compliance measures are critical to ensuring confidence in water-sharing systems such as the Murray Darling Basin Agreement. Having a presence in community is so important for the efficacy of offices such as The Office of the Inspector-General. “A local base will ensure the office responds to community needs while being clear about their focus,” he said.
The Loxton location is one of five regional offices to be established by the Office of the Inspector-General of Water Compliance (IGWC) since commencing operations in August.
Mr Grant will visit key southern Murray Darling Basin sites with new SA field officer Greg Burns, IGWC Field Operations Director Brendan Murphy and Queensland-based field officer Jess Hawker.
“I am pleased to have northern and southern Basin field officers join me in discussing a variety of water issues with a range of stakeholders, inspecting major infrastructure and viewing important environmental sites,” Mr Grant said.
“Greg will be my eyes and ears on the ground here in South Australia and a key part of our regional field office operation.
“Greg and our field officers based in central and southern NSW, Victoria and south-western Queensland, will work collaboratively, efficiently and effectively as a part of the IGWC Office to help restore trust and ensure transparency for Basin communities,” he said.
The IGWC group will travel to the 9000-acre Katarapko floodplain, currently in flood, view Lock 4 and learn more about the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) project designed to help restore ecological health there.
Mr Grant will visit Goolwa and take a tour of the Barrages and the Murray Mouth before speaking with Riverland irrigators and touring a Berri vineyard and almond orchard.
"Visiting the northern part of the Basin recently and now the southernmost point is a crucial part of what my Office is here to do - to listen to concerns, gather independent evidence about what is happening on the ground and start to build trust in water compliance,” he said.
“Our priorities in the first year are very clear. We are listening to Basin communities, reviewing metering reform, assessing water-related agency effectiveness and taking a good look at the sustainability of ground water policies.”