UNITED: South West NRM chairman Mark O'Brien (centre) discusses cluster fencing with Murweh's Scott Sargood and Allan Cann.
UNITED: South West NRM chairman Mark O'Brien (centre) discusses cluster fencing with Murweh's Scott Sargood and Allan Cann.

NRM supergroup forms after discussion splinter

AS A phoenix rises out of the ashes, a new regional organisation has formed out of the breakdown of southern Natural Resource Management negotiations.

Merger discussions between three southwest NRM factions - the Queensland Murray Darling Basin Committee, Condamine Alliance and SouthWest NRM - crumbled earlier this month with the Murray Darling Committee splitting from the trio.

The Condamine and SouthWest committees endeavoured to reform and will combine to make a new organisation titled the Southern Queensland NRM Committee.

This comes after the government placed pressure on the state committees to operate under a new funding model.

The 14 Queensland NRM factions had their funding application rejected a fortnight ago.

SouthWest NRM chairman Mark O'Brien said the amalgamation would help to tick boxes.

"We received news earlier this month that our funding bid had been rejected,” Mr O'Brien said.

"One of the reasons they gave was there needed to be more reform in the southern region.

"For the last two years, the SouthWest NRM and Condamine Alliance have been working together but we have never merged.

"After QMDC withdrew from discussions, because we couldn't all agree, we took it on ourselves to keep going and offer these efficiencies to the government.

"In terms of funding, the South Queensland NRM will now restart negotiations with the state and federal government.”

The new Southern Queensland NRM will operate from Toowoomba to Quilpie in the north, down to the Granite Belt, Border Rivers and St George flood plains in the south.

The SouthWest and Condamine committees have been involved in the provision of cluster fencing in the Balonne and Murweh shires.

Mr O'Brien said residents in the west need not be concerned about a dilution of services.

"I want the staff to know this is not about reduction, we are just looking to deliver more on-the-ground service,” Mr O'Brien said.

"The upside of this is that it will give the groups in the region one point of call and focus, and it will remove a whole heap of overlay and bureaucracy.

"We sent out questionnaires to our members and stakeholders prior to this amalgamation, and they replied that they wished to see one entity spending more money within the community.

"All people who are currently members of the three organisations are encouraged to join the new entity.”

Queensland Murray Darling Committee chair Noel Stropheld said last week his members required more time to consider the merger proposal.

The South Queensland NRM will be formed within a fortnight, with the AGM to be held in the next month.


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