River office now Office of Water

PENRITH'S Office of the Hawkesbury-Nepean will revert to the NSW Office of Water, which resumes sole responsibility for the river.

And no staff are going to lose their jobs.

Penrith state MP Stuart Ayres said it was the best move because the Hawkesbury-Nepean office had not achieved what it was meant to.

"We saw staff and resources moved from the Office of Water to a new office but I think it was a move in name only," he said.

"If the previous government had funded it appropriately it might have survived.

"But I don't think the name Hawkesbury-Nepean means we get anything better."

Penrith Labor councillor John Thain, who stood for Penrith last year, called on the council to protest against the decision.

"I'm happy the staff haven't lost their jobs and have been transferred to the Office of Water," he said.

"But it'll be the same way of looking after our river as it was before.

"The Office of Water would argue about who was responsible for aquatic weeds.

"They'd say it was the Department of Agriculture.

"They'd just duck-shove it all over the place.

"The Hawkesbury-Nepean office would say they were responsible for the river and bring all the agencies together."

He said an alternative might be to transfer responsibility to the Hawkesbury River County Council.

He accused the government of seeking cheap solutions.

Mr Ayres said the government aim was unashamedly one of ensuring that funds were properly targeted.

He said it might be better to spend the money saved on the river itself.

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