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Victim of ‘pay-back’ claim by Campbell

by
April 21, 2017

Moama's Gen Campbell is accusing Murray River Council of putting up roadblocks for her application to install a portable home on her property.

A FORMER Murray Shire councillor is accusing the new merged Murray River Council of launching ‘‘pay-back’’ against her by delaying a development application.

Gen Campbell, who was on a controversy-plagued council between 2012 and 2016, has been applying for a portable home to be installed at her property on Forbes St, Moama.

She said the application has been pending for four years and claimed Murray River Council was deliberately holding up the process.

‘‘It’s the same old story. They look at the name of the applicant before the application itself,’’ she said.

Ms Campbell was on Murray Shire council when it was suspended by the NSW Office of Local Government last year after in-fighting affected its ability to operate.

At the centre of several of the disputes was the former council’s general manager, Margot Stork, who is now the interim general manager at Murray River Council.

Findings from a public inquiry were published last month and highlighted the divide between Ms Stork and a minority group of councillors, including Ms Campbell.

In one instance, the report notes Ms Stork’s ‘‘demand’’ to exclude Ms Campbell from any involvement in negotiating her own return-to-work agreement in 2015.

The Riverine Herald is not suggesting Ms Stork is in any way involved in the decision-making for the development application.

In an email addressed to Ms Campbell’s contractor in February, and seen by the Riv, Murray River Council town planner Christopher O’Brien said council had received legal advice indicating the home did not meet the relevant land use criteria.

‘‘In accordance with the legislation and council’s legal advice, a manufactured home therefore cannot be approved on the subject land as a manufactured home does not meet the definition of a dwelling house,’’ he wrote.

But when Ms Campbell later met with council, she said they refused to present the legal advice.

She said similar portable homes have recently been installed in Moama and was at a loss to understand why her application continued to face hurdles.

Questions were directed to Murray River Council asking why the legal advice had been suppressed and how Ms Campbell’s application differed to recently approved developments in Moama.

Administrator David Shaw responded with a one-line statement which said: ‘‘Murray River Council does not discuss individual development applications other than with the applicant’’.

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