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Rueben Berg appointed first Aboriginal Chair of Westernport Water

Rueben Berg, a Gundijmara man, has been appointed the new Chairperson at Westernport Water. This appointment by the Victorian Government makes Berg the first Aboriginal Chair of a water corporation in the state’s history.

Minister for Water Lisa Neville announced the appointment of 54 new and 65 returning board members with an eye to ensuring Victoria’s 18 water corporations and nine Catchment Management Authorities better reflect the communities they represent.

In making the appointment, Minister Neville spoke of the continued importance of Victoria’s water entities in establishing a culture of fairness, diversity, expertise and equity.

“This group of highly qualified directors will continue to provide an excellent service to the community and support the provision of affordable, reliable water services throughout Victoria,” Minister Neville said.

The new board members will be responsible for guiding Victoria’s water organisations through challenges such as climate change, a growing population, bushfire readiness and COVID-19 response.

The selection process was overseen by an independent panel, with the panel for the first time including an Aboriginal Victorian – Seona James – a proud Yorta Yorta woman.

In additional good news for inclusion, the new appointments mean 57 per cent of board directors and 59 per cent of CMA board members are now women. Female representation on water boards was as low as 38 per cent in 2014.  The number of Aboriginal board members has also increased to 13 – up from 11 in 2019.

The Greater Western Water board commenced on 1 July, following the integration of City West Water and Western Water. The remaining water board members begin their terms in October.