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New group to look at behaviour on Murray River

A new group will look at the behaviour of Murray River users following reports of loud, rude and dangerous behaviour on houseboats last month.

TRENT HORNEMAN December 11, 2013 4:19am

A working group will form to tackle behavioural problems on the Murray River.

The group will look at ways to curb illegal or inconsiderate river users, following a Riv article which shone a spotlight on the issue.

Its formation comes on the back of a meeting of Echuca Moama Accommodation Association, local government, police and houseboat operators.

Tindarra Resort managers Steve and Rosie George told the Riv last month they were sick of loud, rude and dangerous river users in front of their Moama property.

Mr George said he was pleased a working group would be created to tackle the problem.

He said the group would prepare a case to present to the NSW Government, asking for greater Police and NSW Roads and Maritime Services resources in the region.

Mr George said he would also like to see maps, highlighting appropriate places for houseboat users to moor and even the installation of security cameras along the river to help curb the behaviour.

Since Mr and Mrs George shared their story with the Riv on November 18, the behaviour of river users had not changed.

While many, including Moama Echuca River Users Group Chairman and Murray Shire mayor Tom Weyrich land the blame at the feet of authorities, Mr George believed the Echuca-Moama community was responsible.

‘‘It is not all the fault of police or RMS, because if they are not made aware of the problems, then they can’t push the State Government for more resources,’’ he said.

‘‘About 85 per cent of river users are from Victoria, yet there is no contribution from the Victorian Government to tackle the issue. To my mind it should be a Federal Government matter to ensure the river is properly managed.

‘‘Since the article, I have had about 30 calls from people thanking us for speaking out. Some of them said they were at fault because they hadn’t spoken out sooner.

‘‘We all have a role to play by reporting this anti-social behaviour to the authorities.’’

Echuca-Moama Accommodation Association president Sean Goggin said last week’s forum brought together a cross-section of the community directly impacted by river users.

‘‘While there was certainly a lot of passion at the forum, the pleasing thing was that the attendees were willing to work together to come up with some key recommendations — some of which included establishing a working group to continue the work started at the forum and developing a submission to police requesting extra resources,’’ he said’

‘‘The forum was only the starting point in developing these recommendations, the challenge to the attendees and for all the community is to make sure we do not accept anti-social behaviour on the Murray.

‘‘The Murray is our greatest asset and we need to make sure that it is enjoyed by everyone.’’

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