New Basin voice for region

By Country News

Killawarra farmer Josh Kirby has been appointed as a Goulburn Murray regional engagement officer by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

Mr Kirby replaces former regional engagement officer Merrill Boyd who has held the role for the past two years.

MDBA chief executive Phillip Glyde said Mr Kirby would take on the role in early January, joining six other regional engagement officers.

‘‘The regional engagement officers play a crucial role in the success of the (Murray-Darling) Basin Plan by building strong relationships and ensuring regional Australia has a strong voice in the plan’s implementation,’’ Mr Glyde said.

‘‘We are committed to ensuring people right across the basin have the chance to be involved and have their say on water issues.

‘‘We deliberately recruit experienced people with strong local connections and valuable technical knowledge who can work across catchments and across state borders.’’

Regional engagement officers work with farmers, environmental and community groups, Aboriginal communities, local government and other stakeholders to address the concerns of people most affected by the basin plan.

Mr Kirby has previously worked for Moira Shire Council and Goulburn-Murray Water and currently runs Killawarra Farm, north of Wangaratta, with his wife Clare and their children.

Mr Glyde thanked Ms Boyd for her contribution over the past two years.

‘‘Merrill has been a great conduit from the region to the MDBA,’’ he said.

‘‘She has also been an outstanding representative of the MDBA in the region.

‘‘We appreciate the fine work Ms Boyd has done to help her community understand what is happening in the river system, and her work to relay community issues to the MDBA.’’

Mr Glyde said the regional engagement officers, along with the network of regional offices and the 16-member Basin Community Committee, helped provide community input into basin management and the implementation of the basin plan.