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New MRC councillors are ready to get down to work

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September 15, 2017

Murray River Council councilors Tom Weyrich, Geoff Wise, Chris Bilkey and Nicole Cohen. Photo by Luke Hemer.

THREE former Murray Shire councillors and three newcomers have won the Moama and Greater Murray ward election for the new Murray River Council.

The Moama ward will be represented by Nicole Cohen, Chris Bilkey and Gen Campbell, while Geoff Wise, Tom Weyrich and Tony Aquino are the Greater Murray ward councillors.

The Greater Wakool ward was won by Neil Gorey, Alan Mathers and Ann Crowe.

Now that’s all been said and won, the question is who will stand for the top job?

Former Murray Shire mayor Tom Weyrich is one person who intends to.

‘‘I am definitely ready to make it right,’’ he said.

‘‘I always said from the outset I did nothing wrong in Murray Shire. I feel vindicated.’’

The woman who polled the most in the Moama ward, Nikki Cohen, said she was ‘‘humbled’’ by the support.

‘‘I feel really humbled to have been elected and certainly did not expect such a high percentage of the vote,’’ she said.

‘‘But the community has placed their faith and trust in me to do a job and I will certainly do all that I can to not let them down — let the work begin.’’

Mrs Cohen said she would not put her hand up for the mayoral position.

Meanwhile, former Murray Shire councillor Chris Bilkey said he wasn’t sure whether he would stand for the mayoral position.

He said he was elected with ‘‘trepidation’’ on Wednesday because the success of this council was dependent on the ‘‘level of good will’’ of the councillors.

Newcomer Tony Aquino said he was looking forward to being on the new council but said he would not be standing for mayor.

He said councillors needed to leave ‘‘the bullshit’’ at the front door so there wasn’t a repeat of what happened in Murray Shire.

Former Murray Shire councillor Gen Campbell said she would not be standing for the mayoral position but she looked forward to being on the new council.

Cr Gorey said while he felt it was too early to have any preconceived ideas about the leadership, he would be prepared to stand if supported.

‘‘It is a democratic process and any of the nine councillors can put their hand up for mayor or deputy mayor,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a decision that has to made in an open discussion with the other councillors.’’

The first meeting of the newly elected council is Tuesday, September 26 at the Mathoura Visitor Information and Business Centre’s multi function room on the Cobb Hwy from 1pm where the mayor is expected to be elected.

The first item of business will be the affirmation of the councillors.

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