Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Weyrich vying for state role
Murray River Councillor of 22 years, Tom Weyrich, will throw his hat in the ring for one of seven regional NSW positions on the Local Government NSW board.
It will be the first of two elections the successful Moama and Mathoura businessman contests in the space of a month — aiming to become the Murray River local government authority’s first ever representative on the board.
Seven directors from regional and rural NSW will form the 18-member board with seven metropolitan representatives, along with a president, treasurer and two vicepresidents.
Twenty-nine councillors from regional and rural NSW have nominated for the seven positions allocated to “country councillors”, with the ballot set to start on October 27.
The ballot closes on November 24 and only a matter of days later Cr Weyrich will be involved in a second election, with the staging of the Murray River Council elections.
Councillors from throughout NSW will be asked to cast their votes to form the new board, which was first formed in 2013 — a merger between the Local Government Association and the Shires Association.
Cr Weyrich said it was the encouragement of Murray River Council Mayor Chris Bilkey and chief executive officer Terry Dodds that convinced him to nominate for the board.
‘‘Murray River Council has never had representation on the board,” Cr Weyrich said.
‘‘Somebody has to stand up for the region. ‘‘The nearest member to us is from Forbes.’’
Cr Weyrich said he was only aware of one ‘‘border’’ councillor who had been a member of the LGA board in his time on council.
‘‘I believe there was a board member from Albury, but the border region needs representation,’’ he said.
The NSW Local Government board acts as a conjuit between the councils of the state and the state government.
He said the quality of representatives on the current board was unquestionable, but he thought he could bring something different to the organisation.
‘‘If you have a look through the current board there are people who are bachelors of science, law, arts. My goal is to bring a bachelor of common sense to the table,’’ Cr Weyrich said.
‘‘A practical point of view which is not focused on one single issue.’’
Cr Weyrich said the past 18 months had convinced him that the bid to join the board was worthwhile, in particular, an ability to bring the plight of the border residents into focus.
‘‘COVID has brought the challenge of being a border based council to the fore, so being able to represent the region is my major motivation,’’ he said.
Cr Weyrich said he understood the task ahead of him, the supposed non-political organisation having a strong Greens and Labor flavor.
‘‘It is not supposed to be political, but there is a strong influence from these two groups,” he said.
Cr Weyrich said he would use the election to highlight the issues he thought were important, particularly the re-allocation of development funds.
‘‘At the moment the development fees go to the state government and then local government bodies are forced to apply to get those funds back.
‘‘That is one of the issues I would like to address.’’
Cr Weyrich said it was difficult to campaign for the election, but he would be doing his best to win a place on the board — for the Murray River region.
The state LGA group’s regional and rural representatives hail from Cowra, Dubbo, Coffs Harbour, Forbes, Broken Hill and Bellingen.