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The River News, Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 3
firefighters have praised
Family First politician
Robert Brokenshire for
bringing about a State
Government "backflip" on
South Australian emergency
Emergency Services Min-
ister Tony Piccolo released a
statement on Thursday attack-
ing Mr Brokenshire's "frivo-
lous use of a Select Committee"
and claiming the MP lacked
understanding of what the Gov-
ernment was trying to achieve
in its proposed sector reforms.
"This is just political grand-
standing at its finest by Mr
Brokenshire and he should be
embarrassed," Mr Piccolo said.
"If Mr Brokenshire is
against any improvements he
should simply say so."
But retired Mid Murray
Country Fire Service group
officer Mike Arnold said Mr
Brokenshire was doing "an
excellent job" and was well re-
spected within the sector.
"Robert Brokenshire was the
emergency services minister
and we've worked with him pre-
viously," Mr Arnold said.
Last Monday, Mr Piccolo
released a statement that ex-
plained his Government would
retain "the chief officer posi-
tions... as operational heads of
their respective service."
Mr Arnold had previously
expressed concern that the
CFS would be left "without a
head" due to an administration
This week, the long-serving
Waikerie CFS volunteer was
satisfied that the Government
appeared to be listening to vol-
unteers and was "backing down
on the chief officers".
But he said that was just the
"I'm happy, but we hope
there's more to be done because
these reforms are just ridicu-
lous," Mr Arnold said.
CFS Volunteers Associa-
tion Riverland branch presi-
dent David Lindner labelled
the attack on Mr Brokenshire
"If I stand back and have
a look from a broad perspec-
tive, Robert Brokenshire put
through the call through a
couple of weeks ago, so why did
the minister only implement
those things things last week?"
Mr Lindner asked.
"Well done to Robert Broken-
shire, he's achieved his objec-
tives without even taking it to a
Mr Lindner said the prob-
lem with the proposed reforms
was that everything kept
changing and there was no
He said volunteers were
afraid they would have to
return to the days of "chook
raffles" to survive.
"It's very much reactive and,
to me, the Government is trying
to put out spot fires," he said.
"Those who are pushing this
reform agenda... I don't think
really understand how things
"Volunteers are very commu-
nity minded and I don't want us
to go back to how things were 20
or 30 years ago where we didn't
have a funding regime."
Mr Lindner called for a full
business case to explain how
the emergency services fund-
ing would operate.
"That business case needs
to be put out for comment and
not just implemented," he said.
Meanwhile, South Austra-
lian Metropolitan Fire Service
chief officer Grant Lupton for-
mally notified the Government
this week of his plans to retire.
Mr Lupton was recruited
from Canada in late 2001 and
has spent 13 years in charge of
FORMER Waikerie Ferry operator Bruce Armstrong
struggles to open his car door on the new Waikerie Ferry.
INSET: The new ferry was installed at the Waikerie river
front. about a month ago MAIN PHOTO: Kaitlyn Opie
Is the new Waikerie ferry unsafe?
to set up shop
RIVERGUM Boat Cruises will
set up along Waikerie's river front,
subject to public consultation.
The company has sought approval
from District Council of Loxton Waik-
erie (DCLW) to lease the pontoon for
river cruise boarding and disembark-
ing.The business has requested exclu-
sive use of the new mooring pontoon
at Leonard Norman Drive which will
restrict public access.
Council's December agenda stated
that Rivergum Boat Cruises planned to
open a new Waikerie tourism business.
Councillors resolved at that meet-
ing to support a special circumstances
At the February meeting, infra-
structure services director Tim Tol
said council staff liaised with River-
gum Boat Cruises and recommended
council enter into a lease agreement.
The agreement would give River-
gum Boat Cruises unrestricted access
of the pontoon and restrict any public
use of the pontoon.
The business would pay for all
liabilities and maintenance for the
pontoon with the lease fee to cover
the cost of council installation which
would be fully recovered over five
The lease would operate for five
years with the option to renew.
At the end of the lease, Rivergum
Boat Cruises will own the pontoon and
can shift or retain the location subject
The business intends to erect a gate
and structure at the entrance of the
pontoon and advertising signs, with
cruises expected to begin this month.
The proposal is out for public con-
Written submissions should be ad-
dressed to the infrastructure services
director at PO Box 409 Loxton, South
Australia 5333, before March 11.
RIVERLAND CFS members, pictured with Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone, back left, including
Waikerie's Mike Arnold, Leon Carter and Brenton Menadue and Blanchetown's Ferdie Knoll, at a CFS
rally in Adelaide last month.
A FORMER ferry operator
has questioned whether a newly
operational Waikerie ferry
complies with occupational
health and safety regulations.
Bruce Armstrong, who regularly
uses the ferry to travel to and from
Waikerie's town centre, expressed
concern in a letter to the editor
published in last week's River
Mr Armstrong claimed the
Quail, which was installed about a
month ago, was too narrow.
He said often bureaucrats did
not understand how transport
infrastructure was used in daily
life and invited representatives
from the Department of Planning,
Transport and Infrastructure
to take a ride across the River
Murray with him.
"They've got this new idea to
save fuel, but when they cease to
operate the ferry, it shuts down,"
Mr Armstrong said.
"There is an eight second delay
before it can start up and get going
"The concern is it will wear out
the starter motor, so I'm not sure
how much fuel it's actually going
to save... as far as a few others and
myself are concerned, it's a bit of
a crazy idea."
Mr Armstrong said when he
opened his utility door to speak to
someone he knew parked behind
him on the ferry, a rail prevented
the door from fully opening.
"If I'd been an oversized person,
I wouldn't have been able to get out
at all," he said.
"There's a stay that comes back
on all four corners and it's set back
maybe eight inches, but if you pull
in close, you might only have a six
inch gap to get out of your vehicle."
Mr Armstrong said the discov-
ery had implications for school
children travelling on the ferry,
along with tourists and truck driv-
"Until you experience something
yourself, you don't necessarily
realise there's a problem," he said.
"Accidents don't happen often,
but if a woman with a little child
needed to get out to attend to them,
with the console designs in cars
these days, she'd be stuck.
"An incident could happen today,
it might happen in 10 years.
"But if there was a fire, the pas-
sengers closest to the rail wouldn't
be able to evacuate."
Mr Armstrong said some of
the truck drivers he had spoken to
couldn't understand why the ferry
wasn't built a foot wider.
"Everyone I've spoken to has
concerns, it's not just me," he said.
'Too narrow, can't get out' former operator says ferry passengers up against rail...
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