New direction

September 12, 2017

If voting trends in the Murray River Council continue as they are, three of the six elected in wards covering much of the former Murray Shire are likely to be former Murray Shire councillors.

But in both the Greater Murray and Moama wards, it’s newcomers who are gaining the most votes so far.

Geoff Wise leads the progressive vote count in the Greater Murray ward with 34.35 per cent of the vote (701 first preferences) at the time of going to print yesterday.

The last of the first preference votes were unable to be allocated until after postal votes closed 6pm last night.

Former Murray Shire Mayor Tom Weyrich follows based on polling booth results, with 515 first preference votes (25.23 per cent).

Not many votes separate the remaining candidates in the ward, with newcomer Tony Aquino polling 343, immediate past Murray Shire Mayor John Pocklington polling 250 and newcomer Nicole Stenhouse with 232.

After voting closed Mr Wise said he was “thrilled” to have polled the most votes in his ward.

“I think that’s a sign I am doing okay and trying to do the right thing,” he said.

Mr Wise is already looking to the future and what influence he can have on the new council.

“One of the first things I want to get done is help with the DAs (development applications),” he said.

“I need to see what we can do to help council get through them quicker.”

In the Moama ward Mrs Cohen managed an insurmountable lead with 43.68 per cent of the vote (777 first preferences) and is certain to be elected.

Next in her race is former Murray Shire councillor Chris Bilkey with 26.48 per cent of the vote.

The remaining candidates, Gen Campbell and Geoff Mackenzie, will fight it out for the third seat. Both are former Murray Shire councillors.

But it looks likely Ms Campbell will come out on top.

She had 19.17 per cent of the vote ahead of Mr Mackenzie’s 10.68 before postal votes were counted.

However, if voting trends continue, and there is no indication they won’t, the current third place holder in both wards will win a seat.

In Greater Wakool ward, immediate past Wakool Shire Mayor Neil Gorey is comfortably on top with 41.03 per cent of the vote (755 first preferences).

Former councillors Alan Mathers and Ann Crowe are also likely to be elected, polling 461 and 371 first preference votes respectively before postal votes were accounted for.

Katherine O’Brien and Christine Dartnell had 140 and 113 votes respectively at the time of going to print yesterday.

‘‘I am very pleased to be given the chance again to represent my community,’’ Mr Gorey said.

‘‘I realise in turn there is some work to do on that representation; we’ve got to get the best for our community and we have to be prepared to travel to do that — and I am willing to.’’

Mr Gorey did not rule out standing as mayor for the new council entity, but said other matters were more important at this time.

‘‘First we have to see the final results, and we have to be able to work as a team.

‘‘We need to let the dust settle a little bit and show we are a united council before we can make those decisions.’’

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