Emerald irrigators are set to negotiate with the State Government over irrigation channels, after a transition company and board have recently been established to further consider the transfer of SunWater’s irrigation channels in the town to the local irrigators.
The establishment of Fairbain Irrigation Network Pty Ltd by the State Government comes after Emerald submitted a business proposal to take over the irrigation channels.
The transition board of the company, chaired by local Annette Smith, will represent the interests of local farmers and negotiate with government on their behalf.
This week Ms Smith welcomed the appointment of board members who include accounting experts, Anne-Marie O’Callaghan and David McDougall, and Emerald region irrigators, Peter Galea, Ross Burnett and Hamish Millar.
“This is an opportunity for irrigators to develop the agricultural sector and strengthen the economic base of local communities,” Ms Smith said.
“It is important to note that final terms of transfer will only be agreed subject to there being sufficient support from scheme customers.”
Emerald irrigators submitted a business proposal to the State Government for taking over management of the irrigation channels toward the end of 2014.
The board’s first task will be to reassess the status of the scheme, the initial business proposal and customer interest in owning and managing the scheme and undertake any further engineering and legal due diligence required.
The board will be the point of contact between the government and customers to discuss how, and under what conditions, transition to local management can proceed.
The details of those arrangements will ultimately be made available to all customers in the form of a prospectus-like document.
Provided there is sufficient support from customers, the board will be responsible for agreeing the final terms of the transfer and managing the transition of operation and control from SunWater to local management.
The board will be available to discuss the process with farmers at the Central Highlands Cotton Growers and Irrigators Association AGM on Thursday November 24, between at 7pm.