Cooma hosts first South East Local Land Services meeting

The new ministerially appointed South East region Local Land Services (LLS) board chose Cooma for their very first meeting in Cooma on Monday.

Board members Ken Garner, Bega Valley, chair David Mitchell, Delegate, Chris Shannon, Yass, Ian Denney, Crookwell and general manager Gavin Whiteley from Bungendore, met at the Cooma Ex-Services Club.

The board met with representatives of the outgoing Catchment Management Authority (CMA), Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) and the Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

Chair David Mitchell said the board held what he described as a 'transitional' meeting with the staff and board members of the CMA, LHPA and DPI.

"It was a fantastic meeting," Mr Mitchell said.

"We got some great carry-on advice and wisdom.

""We thanked them for their years of service and dedication to their community.

"They said they felt very positive about the future of LLS."

The new LLS will bring together agricultural production advice, biosecurity, natural resource management and emergency management into a single organisation, and is due to commence in January 2014.

The new board also met with the three shire mayors from Cooma Monaro Shire, Snowy River Shire and Bombala Shire Councils on Tuesday morning before another meeting with LHPA staff and board members at the LHPA office in Cooma.

Mr Mitchell said there will be an additional three elected board members on the South East region LLS board.

But not everyone is pleased about the new LLS.

LHPA board chair Ellen Green said she was concerned about the inexperience on the new South East region LLS board, the lack of women on it and the process of the merger of the CMA, DPI and LHPA.

"I suppose the overwhelming thing is they have great intentions to make things better, Mrs Green said.

"There were 20 men in the room [at the meeting on Monday] and four women, who have represented agriculture and the environment at the federal and state level.

"But the minister has only appointed ten women across the state on the LLS boards, and 45 men.

"David (Mitchell) rang the minister (Katrina Hodgkinson) about his concerns that he did not have any women on the board."

Mrs Green runs a sheep and cattle property at Bemboka, and also chairs the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) Wild Dog committee and the CRC National Wild Dog Advisory Group.

"It [the merging into the new LLS structure] has been a most appalling process," Mrs Green said.

"I don't think the minister understands what's involved.

"She has seized $100m of LHPA assets, paid for by rate payers, without so much as a by your leave."

Brett Miners the former general manager of the Southern Rivers CMA has been appointed manager of the Hunter LLS.

The Member for Monaro John Barilaro is urging locals with an interest and passion for regional and rural issues in the Monaro to nominate for the elected positions on the Local Land Services (LLS) board.

"The Monaro region is home to many individuals who are passionate about rural and regional affairs," Mr Barilaro said.

"Those who can bring strong and varied skills to LLS are urged to consider standing for election and all ratepayers are encouraged to vote in the poll.

"Local knowledge, local leadership and understanding of local issues will be critical to the success of LLS.

"I encourage anyone who is eager to contribute at a local level to nominate for a board position before January 31."

Elections for the LLS board will take place on March 12 next year.

Across the eleven LLS regions, ratepayers will elect 34 board members who will work with NSW government-appointed directors to ensure local priorities drive the delivery of services to farmers and land managers across the state.

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission has approved the creation of the new LLS Award, giving certainty to the conditions and salaries that will apply once LLS is operational.

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