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How many hats does a REO wear?

The answer is many. On any given day it depends on what is required, who they are engaging with and the region they look after. Does this variety sound like something you’d be interested in doing? Great – we are recruiting!

Published: 11 February 2022

Our Regional Engagement Officers (REOs) wear many different hats as they work with their communities and stakeholders to ensure vital information flows between Basin communities, the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and governments.

They are hands-on and help provide the MDBA and Department of Agriculture, Water and Resources (DAWE) with grassroots knowledge and the capability to build partnerships.

A REO’s day could start with a stakeholder meeting on flood mitigation or by speaking one-on-one with a landholder. This could move onto a field trip to scan the health of a marsh in the Basin or check fish screens are operating effectively, protecting the native fish and other aquatic species from being extracted from waterways into irrigation channels.

Regional engagement officers participate in community forums and liaise with First Nation groups in their area. They help build relationships by being a two-way conduit of information, experiences and concerns for their communities and the stakeholders they work with and for, including the MDBA.

Importantly, they listen.

Image of the Wentworth river junction
Regional Engagement Officers work with their Basin communities and stakeholders

A day in the life of Richard Unsworth

On any day, REO and Menindee local, Richard Unsworth could be planning engagement activities, discussing operational plans for the Menindee Lakes or getting out and about collecting photographs.

Grandfather and passionate Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs supporter, Richard lives on 10 hectares just out of Menindee with frontage on the Darling (Baaka) River, working 80 hours a month for the MDBA and DAWE.

“I’ve been in this role since early 2019 and the variety that engagement brings makes my job very interesting,” Richard said.

“It has allowed me to be a conduit between the community, stakeholders, other government agencies and, in particular, MDBA and DAWE.

“Two-way communication is the pivotal role of the REO as it helps with the broader community understanding of the role of the MDBA as well as helping the MDBA appreciate the concerns of Basin communities.

“Having a local representative on the ground with local knowledge and relationships helps build the vital links between community and specialists within the MDBA and Department.”

When asked what advice he would give new REOs, Richard said it was important to listen, get out and learn what people are concerned about and make connections.

We are recruiting

The MDBA is recruiting for 2 part-time regional engagement officers, with contracts offered until 30 June 2024 in:

  • Barwon–Darling, New South Wales
  • South-west, Queensland

For an information pack, contact Monique White on 02 :6279 0544 or Monique.White@mdba.gov.au. Applications close at midnight (AEDT) on Sunday 20 February 2022.

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