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Southern Rural Water has this week confirmed the members of its newly established Barwon Downs Licence Community Reference Group (CRG). The reference group has been convened to assist Southern Rural Water with stakeholder and community consultation on Barwon Water’s application for a renewal of its licence under Section 58 of the Water Act 1989.

Individuals registered their interest when SRW announced in September that it would form a group to assist with consultation. Now that Barwon Water has submitted its application, SRW is able to complete the process.

The CRG will be independently chaired by Shaun Cox, who has extensive experience in the water industry, including having led three water utilities – Gold Coast Water, South East Water and Melbourne Water.  He is currently the Independent Chair of the Dandenong Integrated Water Management Forum and Chair of the Border Rivers Commission.

The first CRG meeting is planned for mid-February and the group will meet several times between February and August 2019. A number of community drop-in information sessions will be held during this time and submissions are open on the application until 1 March 2019.

The 18-member CRG comprises: Brian Bowtell (CFA member and former Colac Otway Shire Councillor); John Callahan (Barwon Downs CFA); Martin Calvert (beef farmer, Kawarren); Peter Delahunty (dairyfarmer, president of the Colac District UDV, Water Council VFF); Malcolm Gardiner (Kawarren, 30 years’ experience in surface and groundwater management within the Upper Barwon and Upper Gellibrand Rivers); Peter Greig (Upper Barwon Landcare Network); Charley Kohout, (LAWROC – Land and Water Resources Otway Catchment); David Lean (Bellarine Landcare Group); Jim Lidgerwood (Winchelsea Land and River Care Group and Upper Barwon Landcare Network); Neil Longmore (landholder and planning lawyer specialising in water and environmental issues); Robert Maxwell (dairyfarmer, UDV/VFF); Andrew McLennan (LAWROC) and Nellie Shalley (long-time landholder near the Barwon Downs borefield); Stewart Anderson (Colac Otway Shire Council); Cameron Steele (Environment Victoria); Jayden Woolley and Sharon Blum-Caon (Corangamite Catchment Management Authority); John Hotchin (Board member, VR Fish); Joey Chatfield (Kuuyang Maar Aboriginal Corporation).

Southern Rural Water has also appointed a three-member Independent Technical Review Panel, which brings expertise, specialist knowledge and skills to ensure a robust and thorough review of the application, supporting technical documents and submissions received through our public consultation.

More information is available at