Member for Groom Dr John McVeigh has welcomed the announcement from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) that they open a regional office in Toowoomba.

The MDBA announced the new office yesterday as part of an initiative to improve information exchange between the organisation and regional communities within the Murray-Darling Basin.

Dr McVeigh said opening an office in Toowoomba was a strategic decision that would pay dividends for the MDBA.

“Having an office in the northern headwaters of the Murray-Darling Basin makes perfect sense,” Dr McVeigh said. “The MDBA has been trialling regional engagement officers and this decision will complement that exercise.”

“The Upper Condamine River Catchment is among the most diverse ecological and agricultural systems in Australia,” he said. “Better communication between the MDBA and water users will result in more responsible and sustainable management of our water assets.”

“Agricultural producers will welcome this common-sense decision which reflects a ‘fair dinkum’ respect for regional areas.”

Dr McVeigh, who is a member of the Parliamentary Agriculture and Water Resources Committee, will be hosting an irrigation water use efficiency inquiry on the Darling Downs in coming weeks and he expected today’s decision would be a topic of conversation.

“I have been engaged with local irrigators over a host of aspects of the MDBA allocation review. Having a local resource to call on and build relationships with will make a substantial difference to local irrigators when talking through this region’s very specific issues,” he said.

Dr McVeigh said around 30 employees were expected to voluntarily relocate to regional offices within the next two years – about 10% of the MDBA total staff.

“This will result in better policy and program decisions through better consideration of local impacts,” he said. “I look forward to seeing the office set up. This is yet another vote of confidence in our regional cities as promoted by the Turnbull Government.”