New shire being haunted by the ghost of councils past

August 25, 2017

Murray River Council candidates Tom Weyrich, Geoff Mackenzie, Nikki Cohen, Chris Bilkey and John Pocklington.

NO MATTER how much the residents of Murray River Council would like to move on, it seems the ghost of Murray Shire will continue to haunt them.

A rainstorm welcomed the MRC Moama and Greater Murray wards public forum on Wednesday night as more than 40 people filled the Moama Bowling Club.

But a rainbow did not follow.

Loaded questions were thrown from the floor as others called for the people and candidates to move forward — beyond the public inquiry and beyond the embattled and suspended shire.

But it seems that’s not about to happen anytime soon.

Former Murray Shire councillor Ian Moon asked whether the ratepayers of Moama should expect a by-election depending on whether the Independent Commission against Corruption takes any action or not.

‘‘If ICAC is investigating can we anticipate we may be facing a by-election later on because these are very, very serious issues?’’ he said.

Greater Murray candidate John Pocklington said he had not heard anything from ICAC.

‘‘I cannot comment anymore than that,’’ he said.

Moama candidate Chris Bilkey said his contact with ICAC had been ‘‘zero’’.

Geoff Tighe from Moama said the first item of confirmation of the new council would likely be the appointment of the general manager.

‘‘Are we likely to see some turmoil with that?’’ he said.

Greater Murray candidate Tom Weyrich said the question was ‘‘out of order’’.

‘‘It’s impossible for anyone to say what’s going to happen, let’s find out where we stand before we make any decisions about anybody,’’ he said.

Moama’s Kron Nicholas said he sensed a ‘‘certain amount of antagonism that was presented and I would hate to see that replicated again’’.

He asked candidate Geoff Mackenzie if he believed he could ‘‘quieten it down’’ if successful in his candidacy because that to him was the ‘‘main problem’’.

Mr Mackenzie said he might be antagonistic but he was passionate about Moama.

Commenting on the public inquiry, Mr Pocklington said he was ‘‘disappointed’’ about the findings only naming the two former mayors — Mr Weyrich and himself.

Following the meeting Greater Wakool ward candidate Neil Gorey said it was interesting.

‘‘Obviously there’s still some issues riding over from the previous council but then having said that I think everyone is fairly keen to move forward as well,’’ he said.

The forum was hosted by Committee for Echuca Moama.

From the Moama ward Chris Bilkey, Geoff Mackenzie and Nicole Cohen attended. Gen Campbell was an apology.

For the Greater Murray ward only Tom Weyrich and John Pocklington were present while newcomers Nicole Stenhouse, Geoff Wise and Tony Aquino were all absent from the floor.

The election is on September 9.

More in Riverine Herald
Login Sign Up

Dummy text