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Weyrich accused of 'grandstanding' over missed meeting

Member for Murray-Darling John Williams says he is disappointed with Murray Shire mayor Tom Weyrich's response to a missed meeting opportunity.

ZACH HUBBER May 14, 2014 3:20am

Murray Shire mayor Tom Weyrich has raised the ire of Member for Murray-Darling John Williams after comments he made in the Riv on April 28.

Cr Weyrich was upset with Mr Williams for not helping him set up a meeting with former NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher when he visited Moama in February.

‘‘(John Williams) 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,’’ Cr Weyrich said last month.

Mr Williams said Cr Weyrich was out of touch.

‘‘This is grandstanding,’’ Mr Williams said.

‘‘I just think there’s been a lot of baseless criticism. I’m very disappointed.’’

Mr Williams said his office had no record of Murray Shire attempting to make any ministerial meetings in the time of Cr Weyrich’s mayorship.

‘‘To ensure this belief that I’ve been able to make arrangements, I spoke to the previous mayor Brian Sharp to ask him about my appraisal as a member of parliament,’’ Mr Williams said.

‘‘He told me (the office was) quite pleased to make meetings on behalf of Murray Shire and Brian, both in government and opposition.

‘‘The meeting (Cr Weyrich) may be referring to was a meeting that was arranged through RAMROC (Riverina and Murray Regional Organisation of Councils) and that meeting was arranged via Adrian Piccoli.’’

As for Cr Weyrich’s comments questioning how Mr Williams could be across all issues when his seat extended from Victoria to Queensland, the minister said: ‘‘I have an office in Deniliquin that’s providing excellent service to any constituent inquiry’’.

‘‘I’m sure he’s well aware of that service in the past.

‘‘Those imputations reflect on my professional staff as an insult to their standards and levels of service.’’

Cr Weyrich also highlighted a ‘‘severe lack of police resources’’ in Moama, saying there had been an increase in police resources for the Deniliquin Local Area Command, but nothing for Moama.

Mr Williams refuted the claim.

‘‘I’ve spoken to Michael Tranby, the Deniliquin Local Area Commander, about policing numbers at Moama. In the past five years, the command has no increase in numbers, yet,’’ Mr Williams said.

‘‘The Moama sector has received additional staff. They’ve attempted to provide maximum staff availability to work at the busiest times.

‘‘The Moama sector has 24-hour response. That type of response is not available in many communities in my electorate and exceeds the level of service with similar population sizes.

‘‘In regards to the standard of policing and expectation of the community, I’ve received no criticism of police numbers or standard of service of NSW police in Moama.’’

Mr Williams also rebutted Cr Weyrich’s request for the government’s Roads and Maritime Services to share its increased boating revenue to pay for a boating safety officer and for an office to re-open in Moama.

‘‘For more than 10 years there have been two safety boating officers and one from Swan Hill,’’ Mr Williams said.

‘‘They carry joint patrols and operate several times each year.

‘‘In the interests of RMS, the Moama council agency is open Monday to Friday and can provide that service.’’

Mr Gallacher could not be reached for comment after resigning from cabinet earlier this month after allegations he colluded in a corrupt political donations scheme.

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