The federal government will relocate a third of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's 300 jobs from Canberra to regional towns.
Yesterday it was revealed Murray Bridge will gain 12 full-time positions, Goondiwindi, Qld, 18, and more than 20 each in Griffith, NSW, and Albury, NSW.
The decentralisation of the agency responsible for implementing the $13 billion Murray-Darling Basin Plan will involve 76 jobs moving to regional centres in coming months, on top of the 26 that were relocated in the past few years.
The MDBA has already placed skeleton-staff offices in Adelaide, Toowoomba, Qld, Goondiwindi, Qld, and Albury, NSW.
Related reading: SA Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission report released
Member for Barker Tony Pasin, whose electorate includes Murray Bridge, said the announcement was a "big win" for the region.
“South Australians need to be heard as we roll out the Basin Plan and this will see that happen,” Mr Pasin said.
“This is a big win for Murray Bridge and the south west region, giving locals more well-paid and ongoing jobs and boosting the local economy.
“Both the new MDBA staff and office will be spending more money in the community and boosting local business too.”
NSW Regional Water Minister Niall Blair said the agency relocation would have a profound impact on policy, as decision makers would be immersed in the socio-economic impacts of water reform.
“This may seem like a small move to some but I know it will have life-changing outcomes for those who manage the system and most importantly, for the communities who live in the Basin," Mr Blair said.
The people who manage the river system should live on the river.
“The move will mean policy makers have an opportunity to better understand local issues and the impacts that decisions around water can have on not just one community but many.
“Griffith is a prime example of what a community can do when it has access to productive water and how producers and industry can work together to adapt to the changing nature of water use."
Water Minister David Littleproud said MDBA decentralisation would benefit the local economy and water policy.
“The people who manage the river system should live on the river," Mr Littleproud said.
"Country people deserve government jobs as much as city people do, and that's why I fought so hard to make this decentralisation happen.”
MDBA Chief executive Phillip Glyde expects the workforce shift to improve implementation of the Basin Plan.
“Further regionalisation is an opportunity for the MDBA to build even stronger links with communities across the Murray–Darling Basin which, in turn, will improve Basin Plan implementation and our management of the Murray River on behalf of Basin governments,” Mr Glyde said.
No time frame has been set to complete the job relocations.
“We won’t rush the regionalisation process and will work through the opportunities and issues methodically in collaboration with our staff to ensure the important work of implementing the Basin Plan and managing the River Murray is not hindered,” Mr Glyde said.