Mildura Weekly : Friday January 23 Vol 9 No 11 2015
04 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 2015 The Moving Pictures 1980s classic ‘What About Me?’ has an unforgettable chorus, and it could well be the theme song for a new push by the Wentworth Shire onto the New South Wales stage... By GRANT MAYNARD IT might be only one site amongst millions on the world wide web, but Went- worth Shire Councillor, and unabashed ‘town on two riv- ers’ champion, Bob Wheel- don is hoping for big things. www.Murray2015.org was launched with little fan- fare this week, but its aim is to secure a larger slice of the State funding ‘pie’ for the Councillor’s hometown, and the wider Wentworth Shire municipality as well. Cr Wheeldon is confident publicity – like this article – and word of mouth will bring attention to the web- site and its aims. “The State has treated the people who choose to live in the Wentworth Shire like second class citizens for decades,” Cr Wheeldon de- clared. “All we are asking is a fair go for Murray,” he said referring to the electorate of Murray – created by the re- distribution of NSW electoral boundaries in 2013. In a nutshell that redistri- bution meant that the former Murray-Darling electorate was abolished. The new Mur- ray electorate was created but without Broken Hill. Instead, Murray gained the western parts of the abolished elec- torate of Murrumbidgee, in- cluding the major centres of Griffith and Leeton. Mr Wheeldon sees that as a ‘win.’ “We have a lot more in common with the areas we gained. Like us they are river towns, and share some of our main industries – horticul- ture, he says, is an example. “We had little in com- mon with Broken Hill,” Cr Wheeldon says, and he be- moans the fact that the Silver City received far too much of the State’s attention, for too many years. The new Murray elector- ate stretches from the South Australian border, east to the Murrumbidgee Irriga- tion Area, south to the State border with Victoria, while its northern extremities push well into the Western Lands grazing areas, encompass- ing nearly 20 percent of the State! And, in the words of Moving Pictures, Cr Wheel- don says the residents of Murray have every right to ask: “What about me, it isn’t fair; I’ve had enough now I want my share; Can’t you see I wanna live; But you just take more than you give.” “It’s time for the State to take a greater interest in our area,” he said. Speaking this week, Cr Wheeldon said: “I have been a Councillor in the Went- worth Shire since 2012, and a lifelong Coalition supporter but I have become increas- ingly unhappy and disap- pointed by the treatment of the Local Government Areas (LGAs) that are part of the new Seat of Murray at the hands of the NSW Govern- ment. “Murray has had mini- mal Ministerial visits, and no visits from the Premier or Deputy Premier that I am aware of. We have definitely not received a fair share of in- frastructure and services, and we have been inundated with reviews and submissions that have had very few positive outcomes. “The main policy re- sponse the Government of- fers for Murray is LGA amal- gamations. “I believe the upcom- ing Saturday, March 28 State Election provides a prime opportunity to ensure Mur- ray is put back on the agenda of our Government, and that is why I have launched mur- ray2015.org. “murray2015.org is a website advocating for fair go for Murray in the 2015 State Election by calling for solid commitments from candi- dates and offering clear poli- cies for voters to consider.” Cr Wheeldon said that with a State election on the horizon, the people of Murray need commitments from candidates to ensure the electorate receives: • A fair share of infra- structure and services. • No forced Council amalgamations. • Reasonable access to water and land to grow food and fibre. • Less red tape and bu- reaucracy. • Regular visitation by the Premier/Deputy Premier. The website calls on the citizens of Murray to support a campaign “to ensure we elect a representative of Mur- ray who will truly fight for its prosperity.” “The website will moni- tor each candidate and list every promise made, and every policy rejected on the public record. This will help voters in Murray’s Local Gov- ernment Areas to make the best possible decision in rela- tion to the best candidate for Murray. “I encourage people to visit www.murray2015.org and support our campaign for a fair go,” Cr Wheeldon said. He said for too long peo- ple living on the New South Wales side of Sunraysia have had to depend on Victoria. “It’s not good enough that people have to travel over the border to access the goods and services they need,” he said. “Unfortunately, what happens sometimes is that people get sick and tired of the travel and move interstate permanently. “That is not good for the health of our Shire, and it cer- tainly doesn’t help the State either!” With the sand mines near Pooncarie pumping an esti- mated $15million a year into the State coffers through roy- alties, Cr Wheeldon said the Shire was certainly paying its way. “It would be nice to get some of that money back,” he said. He said while regional centres like Wagga Wagga, Dubbo and Tamworth con- tinued to receive billions of dollars in Government in- frastructure funding, Went- worth was overlooked. “All we are asking is to be considered...to be given a fair go,” he said. Cr Wheeldon said while the new website it political, it is certainly not party politi- cal. “The website is about get- ting the best result for Murray and Wentworth,” he said. It would be good, he said, to have a candidate who was part of the State election ‘winning team.’ And, he is willing to forgo party loyalties of the past if it means Murray gets a better deal. • Continued Page 13 Tired of being ignored, Wentworth fights back! • MAN ON A MISSION: Cr Bob Wheeldon, ABOVE, wants a better deal for Wentworth Shire from the State Government...and he doesn’t care who delivers. He has called on the two candidates for Murray in the upcoming NSW State election, Mr Adrian Piccoli, right, and Max Buljubasic, far right, to tell people living in the Shire what they are prepared to do to win their vote. INSET: A screen shot of the lobby website. 50% OFF ALL MATTRESSES* AUSTRALIA DAY SALE | 3 DAYS ONLY ENDS MONDAY 5PM ALL SIZES AND LEADING BRANDS *Conditions Apply. 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