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The Macalister Customer Consultative Committee (MCCC) is Southern Rural Water’s customer advisory group for the Macalister Irrigation Area (MIA). It provides an open forum for raising and discussing issues relevant to customers and SRW’s Eastern Irrigation Business.

Message from the Committee

As members of the MCCC it is our responsibility to ensure that irrigators get as much value as possible out of their water entitlements and that the community makes the best use of its resources – resources that will enable us to be an economically viable and productive irrigation district and community.


Raelene Hanratty


Upper Maffra

Raelene has been dairyfarming in the MID since 1986 and has been a member of the MCCC since July 2014. It is her belief that the MID is vital to Victoria’s food production; envisaging strong growth in agricultural profit. Raelene is a director on the Board of Rural Financial Counselling Service Gippsland and a mentor in the Lifeline ‘Farmers Friend’ program.  She has held 11 executive positions on local school and sporting committees and is a Director on the Board of the Heyfield Hospital. Raelene is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Raelene is conscious of the need to modernise and progress the MID to provide an enhanced service for irrigators that will be sustainable and cost-effective into the future.

Hans Van Wees

Deputy Chair

Upper Maffra West

Hans Van Wees, share farmer and owner-operator in Upper Maffra West, is originally from Holland but came to Australia via New Zealand. He has experience of operating farms in both the modernised and unmodernised supply zones and brings a strong understanding of the system, how it works and factors in decision-making. He believes the MCCC is an opportunity for customers to offer feedback to SRW and put forward their ideas and suggestions.

Graeme Anderson (OAM)


Graeme Anderson has been a valued member of the MCCC for many years. Graeme has over 44 years’ experience in the dairy industry, which has contributed to his extensive knowledge of the MID and current water policies. Graeme is a member of the Macalister Consultative Group on Irrigation Reform (MCGIR), UDV, VFF, Denison Discussion Group, Denison Hall Committee and the VFF State Water Committee. Graeme is dedicated to ensuring continual improvement of the district, and believes we have the opportunity to make the MID the premier irrigation district in the state.

Alan Clyne

Tinamba West

As well as dairy farming for over 40 years, Alan has also been heavily involved in local business, including being a Board Member of the Gippsland Rural Financial Council and a Board member of the Herd Improvement Co-Operative. Alan wishes to give some time to the irrigation community, using his practical experience to best serve his fellow farmers.

Norm Drew


Norm Drew brings more than 40 years of farming experience to the Committee and is heavily involved in many community and industry forums, from cropping and dairy, to serving as Flood Warden and being a member of various industry based groups. A desire to improve future farming and to help develop better agriculture and irrigation knowledge, led Norm to nominate for the Committee.

Stephen Dwyer


Stephen Dwyer has been a dairy farmer in Newry for the past 32 years. Stephen is an active member of the community, being past president of the Newry Tennis Club, Chairperson of the Newry Rec Reserve and Newry GRS, umpire with the Sale Umpire Association, member of the Sale Dramatic Society, local CFA, and a Committee member for the Sale Entertainment Centre. Stephen is entering his third term as a Committee member, and is pleased to be a representative on behalf of the Newry community.

Jeannette Howie


Jeannette Howie has participated in such groups as the Australian Institute of Management / Dairy, National Irrigation Group, MCGIR, Wellington Shire Farm Group and the Wellington Shire Drought Committee, and brings 30 years’ experience in the dairy industry to the committee. Jeannette holds an Advanced Diploma in Agriculture and has built her farming business from a 100 cow farm to a successful 400 cow farm. Jeanette is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Dairy Australia National Irrigation Futures. Jeannette has a strong commitment to see the district prosper, and is confident in representing issues raised from her fellow irrigators and the community.

Malcolm Sellen


Malcolm Sellen has been a Committee member since July 2006. He has been farming for 25 years, and moved to the district some 15 years ago. Malcolm is involved with numerous discussion groups and is the current Secretary of the local UDV branch. Soil health, fishing and boating are among Malcolm’s interests. He joined the MCCC to gain a better understanding of SRW’s involvement in the community.

Robert Webber


Working with the local farming community through his role in farm machinery sales, Robert Webber is well aware of the importance of a reliable water supply for both the farmer and community in general.  Originally from a family farm in South West England, Robert and his wife Belinda own a small farm in Bundalaguah. The couple’s farm is under flood irrigation on a modernised channel with a flume gate and is used for agistment and producing grass silage.

Benn Thexton

Benn is a fifth-generation farmer in the area but is new to the MID. During the past four years, his family has invested in two MID dairy farms. His motivation for joining the MCCC includes wanting to understand more about the decision-making involved in the way water is delivered. He also feels he can provide fresh insights as someone relatively new to the district. Benn would like to see a greater understanding of how future planning can be introduced into water management to help farmers make better decisions for their businesses.

Kate Lamb


Kate Lamb farms with her husband, Robert, and their three children. Robert’s family has been dairyfarming for over 70 years, and Robert moved to the MID four decades ago. Kate is particularly interested in providing a voice for young people in the district. She is also passionate about making the most of available water from Glenmaggie Weir by reducing wastage. She believes that customers most value one-on-one contact with SRW staff, whether it be field staff or those who generally work in an office. She greatly appreciates our Customer Service Team who provide a hassle-free, friendly and personal approach to questions. In their off-farm time, the family enjoys camping and the sport of campdrafting.

Brad White 


Brad White grew up in the MID. His family has been farming locally since the 1940s and Brad and his wife have now taken over the family farm. Brad has a major interest in best-practice use of water. He and his wife took the option of rationalisation several years ago, reducing outlets and investing in pipe and riser flood irrigation. His system is fully automated and can be run on his smartphone. Brad is interested to learn more about the delivery side of water supply and has been excited to see modernisation programs realise benefits for farmers, especially in using water more efficiently.


Role of the Committee

This committee meets seven times a year in Maffra and is responsible for:

  • helping to shape and approve our Eastern Irrigation Business including future plans, prices, investments, budgets and performance indicators
  • providing input into system and service improvements
  • helping to shape tariff structures, pricing and billing arrangements
  • the operation and maintenance of the groundwater control pumps and free flowing bores in the MID and surrounds
  • acting as an advocate for the Salinity Management Program
  • monitoring customer communication strategies and activities
  • providing a customer’s perspective on business issues
  • assisting SRW to improve relationships with customers
  • helping shape positive external stakeholder views on the MIA.

All MCCC members are selected to ensure that a broad range of customer views are heard. Each member brings a wide range of experience which helps us respond better to changing needs and concerns from our customers.

The MCCC provides a direct link between SRW and its customers, ensuring that we:

  • remain responsive to customer needs
  • can understand issues and possible solutions from the perspective of different groups
  • involve the community in projects from the beginning, ensuring its views are considered as part of the project
  • have access to valuable community knowledge
  • receive feedback about our customer service performance
  • are advised about new or modified service requirements
  • take into account the customer perspective in responding to external stakeholder concerns about the MIA.

If you are you interested in becoming a member or would like to have an issue discussed at a meeting please contact us.

Meeting schedule 2021

MCCC 185  Tuesday, 25 May 2021

MCCC 186  Tuesday, 27 July 2021

MCCC 187  Tuesday, 28 September 2021

MCCC 188  Tuesday, 26 October 2021

MCCC 189  Tuesday, 14 December 2021

All meetings are held at Southern Rural Water, 88 Johnson Street, Maffra.

Agenda and minutes

Southern Rural Water acknowledges and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and waters on which we work and live, and we respect their deep and ongoing connection to Country. For more about the First Nations peoples on whose Country we work, click here.