Connections Project Community Consultation Report
The Connections Project Community Consultation Report is a vital step in the Project Reset journey, as we work towards building a sustainable future for irrigators in Northern Victoria.
We saw a high level of community and stakeholder engagement as part of the Connections Project consultation sessions in June. A total of 302 participants attended five full-day sessions at towns spread across Northern Victoria.
The report, compiled by consultant Tim Cummins and Associates, provides a summary of feedback received from landowners at the June sessions, which asked them to provide knowledge and expertise on the four delivery options for project reset.
The Community Consultation Report will inform our project reset planning activities.
The report shows landowners expressed clear support for Option 4 as part of the Connections Project reset. Option 4 is a tailored, channel-by-channel approach.
Price Waterhouse Coopers Summary Report of Connections Project financial position
In early 2016 the Connections Project Control Group commissioned Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) to provide an independent report on the financial position of the Connections Project to help guide the reset process.
This report has found that there is still $827 million available in both Stage 1 and Stage 2 funding.
The GMW Board and the PCG are focused on delivering this once-in-a-lifetime project. It is crucial to the sustainability of our region and is the key to ensuring water savings are delivered for the environment from irrigation infrastructure upgrades, not buybacks.
The PwC report has highlighted areas for improvement and the GMW Board and PCG are committed to implementing these to achieve the best possible outcome for the project. Together we are continually looking for ways to improve the project as part of the reset announced by the State Government.
Primary Agency Report
In December 2015 and January 2016, the State and Commonwealth Governments engaged the Primary Agency to capture the views of stakeholders and identify the GMID community issues involved in completing the Connections Project in the future.
The Primary Agency Report released on 3 March 2016 advised that while there has been great frustration in the community about the progress of the Connections Project, it was clear it should not be abandoned and doing nothing was not an option.
The Commonwealth Government has made it clear that no further funding is available, however more time to complete would be considered. Project reviews indicate that to ensure proper planning and customer consultation is carried out, the project will need Government agreement to extend the completion date until the second half of 2020.
The new project governance arrangements are working to reset the project by addressing numerous issues in delivery.
A new Project Control Group (PCG) has been established to drive change and streamline the decision making process. A Stakeholder Consultative Committee (SCC) has also been established and has met three times. The SCC is made up of water users including customers, agricultural and industry peak bodies as well as local government.
Connections Project Mid-Term Review
As a condition in the Stage 2 contract with the Commonwealth Government the Connections Project was independently reviewed in late 2015.
The independent reviewer – GHD – was appointed to undertake the review. As the delivery partner for the Connections Project, GMW was a participant in the review and provided information to the reviewers.
One of the key parts of this review was evaluating if the main assumptions, which formed the basis for the agreed outcomes in the project’s schedule were still valid.
It also determined whether the project could achieve its targets with the allocated financial and human resources, and within the expected time and recommended actions and improvements to deliver the project successfully.