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Mayor still hoping for river safety meeting

Murray Shire mayor Tom Weyrich is hoping a change in NSW cabinet re-shuffle will mean he will be able to meet with the NSW Police Minister about district river issues.

TRENT HORNEMAN April 28, 2014 3:33am

Murray Shire mayor Tom Weyrich hopes a NSW cabinet re-shuffle could help him meet NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher.

Cr Weyrich and his fellow councillors were incensed after Mr Gallacher visited Moama in February without meeting them.

Mr Gallacher told the Riv he met with police and emergency services in Moama for about an hour.

Cr Weyrich has sought a meeting with Mr Gallacher to discuss a ‘‘severe lack of police resources’’ in Moama, as well as the decision to close the town’s Roads and Maritime Services offices.

‘‘There is an increase in police resources for the Deniliquin Local Area Command, but nothing for Moama,’’ he said.

‘‘I am bewildered and would like to know what justified the decision to close the Moama (RMS) office.’’

Cr Weyrich said he would hope to broker a meeting with Mr Gallacher through new Local Government Minister Paul Toole.

He also took aim at Member for Murray-Darling John Williams for not helping him set up a meeting.

‘‘He might live in Broken Hill, but so did the predecessor Peter Black. When Mr Black held the seat, Murray Shire was able to have meetings with ministers,’’ he said.

‘‘The seat will be cut at the next election, because it is simply too big.

‘‘How can you be across all issues when your seat extends from Victoria to Queensland?

‘‘Murray Shire is the second fastest growing rural shire in NSW and quite simply we deserve better.’’

Cr Weyrich was particularly concerned about the lack of resourcing on the Murray River and said the RMS closure and inadequate police numbers meant the river was virtually lawless.

‘‘You can’t even say it would take a death for something to happen, because there have been deaths on the river and nothing is being done,’’ he said.

‘‘We made a bit of noise at the start of the summer and the Moama police boat had its tyres pumped up and put into the water for the first time in a long time, but I suspect that it is back in a state of disrepair because it has not been used since.’’

Cr Weyrich said the Echuca-Moama River Users Group, of which he is chairman, is calling on the State Government for a share in its increased boating revenue.

‘‘We are hearing that the RMS has collected more through increased licensing and boat registration,’’ he said.

‘‘We hear that they are looking for projects to spend their money on.

‘‘Well they could give us some of that money to pay for a boating safety officer and for an office to re-open in Moama,’’ he said.

‘‘This can be done. With the stroke of a pen, wakeboarding was banned at Picnic Point.’’

See Wednesday’s Riv for responses from NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher and Member for Murray-Darling John Williams on these issues.

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