Irrigators debate survival while GMW debates carpet colour

10 February 2021

Internal documents obtained by the Liberal Nationals under Freedom of Information reveal Goulburn Murray Water spent $1 million to renovate its Casey Street headquarters last year.

Shadow Water Minister and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said the expenditure was a slap in the face to irrigators struggling to pay skyrocketing water bills.

“Instead of sitting back and allowing GMW to splash $1 million on upgrading its office, Lisa Neville should have given the authority instructions to lower customers’ fees,” Ms Ryan said.

In an email titled Heads Up – Acoustic office furniture, GMW executive leadership team was informed that ‘contemporary office furniture’ was going to be trialed at Tatura so staff could provide feedback on different kinds of furniture.

A working group was established to ‘explore options’ for the modernisation and a communications action plan prepared to inform staff about the changes, including new acoustic furniture and carpet colours.

The renovations were undertaken despite feedback from staff that they were ‘unnecessary and insensitive with current staff job cuts and for customers during these hard times’.

One email from GMW’s general manager of strategy and services planning to the executive leadership team acknowledged staff concerns about spending money on the upgrade, stating ‘still some work to do with acceptance of spending money on office changes at this particular point in time’.

“GMW’s leadership team need to be worried about the sustainability of their customers, not the colour of their carpet,” Ms Ryan said.

“It’s disappointing GMW’s leadership team did not listen to their staff who are clearly more in tune with the sentiments of their customers.”

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