Transition to Local Management
Following the irrigation price path announced in 2012, Queensland irrigators raised concerns about the long-term sustainability of SunWater’s eight channel irrigation schemes. In response to these concerns the Government committed to investigating the possibility of the schemes transitioning to local management arrangements (LMA).
In June 2014, the interim boards established for each scheme submitted business proposals to the government to transfer ownership and operation of the infrastructure to scheme customers.
In September 2015 the government decided that Emerald, Eton, St George and Theodore had demonstrated sufficient financial viability and strength of customer commitment to local ownership to proceed (Transition schemes).
Four companies and boards for each of the Transition schemes were established with the purpose of negotiating with government on the terms of transition to local management. These companies are currently owned by government, with the company boards representing the interests of local irrigators. The intention is to transfer over to customer-ownership if and when LMA proceeds.
Theodore Water Pty Ltd was formally registered on 3rd November 2016 and is the transition company for the Theodore Channel Irrigation Scheme.
On 3rd November 2016, the Queensland Government made a formal separation payment offer to Theodore Water Pty Ltd of $15.1 million. This funding will provide the initial funds to run and maintain the scheme assets and to invest in infrastructure to secure the services for the future.
In June 2018, it was announced that allocation holders in the Theodore channel irrigation scheme had voted in favour of the transition from government to local ownership.
Transition of the channel system to local ownership means existing irrigation assets will be owned and controlled by the irrigators within the scheme through Theodore Water Pty Ltd. Local ownership only relates to assets associated with the channel distribution scheme such as channels, pipes and drains.
Bulk water supply assets such as rivers and dams are not included and will remain owned and managed by SunWater. SunWater will continue to deliver bulk water to the channel system while Theodore Water Pty Ltd will be responsible for its delivery to allocation holders.
Local ownership delivers a system that is specifically tailored to the needs of the Theodore channel system irrigators with the opportunity for more innovative and flexible ways of operating the water distribution.
Local staff are vital within the local management framework and the expertise, skills and experience of all former SunWater channel system staff have been retained by Theodore Water Pty Ltd.