The new Inspector-General of Water Compliance the Hon. Troy Grant is on his first tour of Murray-Darling Basin communities this week. Mr Grant is in south-western Queensland speaking with farmers, National Parks representatives, shire mayors and the State member for Warrego, Ann Leahy.
The first stop is Goondiwindi where an Inspector-General of Water Compliance (IGWC) Field Office has recently opened. IGWC’s Field Operations Director Brendan Murphy and Goondiwindi-based Field Officer Jess Hawker are accompanying Mr Grant as he meets with Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) community members in St George, Dirranbandi, Cunnamulla, Charleville and Roma.
“Having lived in the Basin for decades, I understand the challenges facing Basin communities. Visiting the northern part of the Basin this week is a vital part of what my Office is here for – to listen to concerns, form independent opinions about what is happening on the ground and start to rebuild trust in water compliance,” Mr Grant said.
“I am confident the IGWC Office will provide communities with the assurances they are seeking in relation to water management integrity,” he said.
“My priorities in the first year are listening to stakeholders, reviewing metering reform, assessing water-related agency effectiveness and taking a good look at ground water compliance with sustainable limits.”
“Jess Hawker, our Goondiwindi-based Field Officer, will be my eyes and ears on the ground and an important part of our regional field office operation across the Basin.
“Jess and four other Field Officers based in central and southern NSW, Victoria and South Australia, will work collaboratively, efficiently and effectively as a part of the IGWC Office to help restore trust and ensure transparency for Basin communities,” Mr Grant said.
During the visit Mr Grant will be discussing MDB stakeholder concerns and Queensland Parliament perspectives with State Member for Warrego Ann Leahy in Roma. A number of water issues concerning local government will be discussed with Balonne Shire Mayor Samantha O’Toole, Paroo Shire Mayor Suzette Beresford and Murweh Shire Mayor Shaun Radnedge.
Mr Grant will also tour the RAMSAR-listed Currawinya Lakes, one of Australia’s most important inland bird breeding sites.
Murray-Darling Basin-wide water compliance issues will be discussed with graziers, irrigators and Western Downs Regional Council Deputy Mayor Andrew Smith as well as local feedlot operators and landholders along the Condamine River.
Mr Grant will visit as many parts of the Murray-Darling Basin as possible once COVID restrictions lift and is heading for South Australia next.