He’s a big man, with a big heart and a passion for the Riverland. He comes from Queensland.
Gavin McMahon is quietly spoken but very capable of ‘getting his message across’. As CEO of the Central Irrigation Trust (CIT), Gav has his hands full managing the water challenges for more than 1,420 CIT irrigators across the region. He played a huge part in the lead up to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan as the ‘Voluntary Chair’ of SARC (South Australian River Communities). Since then he’s continued to influence policy makers around the complex irrigation questions affecting all Basin states in his (other) role as Chair of the National Irrigators’ Council. His work is not just for irrigators, it’s for the heart and soul of this community’s economy, its towns and its ongoing quest for recognition as Australia’s most responsible custodian of water resources.
Most recently Gavin ‘lead the charge’ at a public forum in Adelaide, convened on Tuesday this week, by the Australian Competition Tribunal. This forum provided an opportunity for all South Australian energy consumers to appeal to the Australian Energy Regulator to be strong in its determination about the maximum amount the SA Power Networks (SAPN) is permitted to recover through prices it charges for regulated electricity services.
The rules around electricity, network charges and retail charges are even more complex than the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and its rules around Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDL).
As a member of the Riverland Energy Association, chaired by Trevor Davidson of The Wine Group, Gavin has done much of the leg-work assisting other members to understand the crippling impact of power costs on this region. Other speakers at the tribunal included Brendan Sidhu (Jubilee Almonds and Century Orchards), Tom Chesson (National Irrigators’ Council), Barry Schier (Renmark Irrigation Trust), Brenton Paige (Riverland Energy Association) and Chris Byrne (Riverland Wine).
SAPN representatives were present as observers. In his short summing up, Justice Middleton thanked all those who had participated and explained as part of its ongoing deliberation, the Tribunal will provide opportunity for SAPN to respond before accepting or rejecting SAPN’s appeal against the Energy Regulators decision to impose limits on prices it may charge under the Regulations. Keep an eye on this column for news of the outcome and well done to all those who made the case for fairer electricity charges. Special thanks to Gavin.