Twin towns obvious choice

By Riverine Herald

COMMITTEE for Echuca-Moama chief executive Martin Szakal believes the Victorian cross border commissioner should be based in Echuca.

The government announced $760,000 to establish the commissioner in its budget released on Tuesday.

Mr Szakal said Echuca would be an ideal base for the new position, given cross border issues are rife in the town.

‘‘The feeling might be they might go to one of the larger centres like Wodonga ... (but) it would be great for the commissioner to be based in a border town rather than in Melbourne,’’ he said.

Mr Szakal said the announcement was ‘‘fantastic’’.

‘‘NSW already has a cross border commissioner so it’s only sensible and logical to have one on this side who can help negotiate cross border issues,’’ he said.

‘‘We made a submission recommending the government employ a cross border commissioner, when the government had that open, so they’ve obviously listened.’’

Mr Szakal said there were many cross border issues in Echuca and the commissioner would have to create a register of all of them.

‘‘Some of the local trades people have to carry dual licences for doing trades across the border,’’ he said.

‘‘Others issues relate to security for hotels and gaming staff and the different licences they have to have.

‘‘There’s lots of small and large issues so essentially they will have to create a register to work through them.

‘‘There are ones that are easily addressed and there will be some really deep ones that will need policy intervention.’’

Mr Szakal said he was not sure when the commissioner would start and issues would start to be addressed.

‘‘But I will be trying to find out more information,’’ he said.