Working for the Connections Project is more than just a job for Bill Streader.
The born-and-breed Boort boy sees it as way of ensuring the future of his community.
“In small communities like this (Boort), when you start losing farmers, you start losing footy teams, you start losing fire brigade members and everything stops,” Bill said.
“The bottom line is we’ll keep far more people here if we keep everything going.
“They’re not just farmers. They’re the backbone of our communities.”
Bill recently celebrated 30 years working for Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) and has been working for the Project for almost 10 years.
“Irrigation is something farmers in our region rely on,” he said.
“Through this role I’ve been able to help farmers connect to the modernised system and this means good outcomes for the community, farmers and the Project.”
The $2 billion Connections Project is the largest irrigation modernisation project in Australia.
Funded by the Victorian and Australian governments, it is generating water savings by creating a world leading delivery system that boosts irrigator productivity,helps communities thrive and fosters healthy waterways and wetlands.
For Bill the Project has meant learning new skills and growing his career.
“I’m a builder by trade, so I originally went to the Rural Water Commission in 1987 and worked as a carpenter and worked on the bailiffs’ houses,” he said.
“I renovated and maintained them all.”
Although –it didn’t last for long – a couple of short years later Bill was promoted to maintenance planner for the Pyramid-Boort area.
After that it was a more senior role as planner for channel works and a works inspector for the Normanville pipeline scheme.
“Working with GMW over the years has also given me the opportunity to meet and work with some great people both within, and outside of the organisation which has been a very rewarding part of the job,” he said.
“A lot of people say; ‘how can you be in the same job so long?, but it’s not the same thing. I’ve built weirs, regulators, fixed houses, drove trucks…
“All these things I wouldn’t have done if I’d stayed a builder.”