Concerned NSW Minister visits the Murray


Following a number of serious boating incidents, including three fatalities, on the Murray River in December and January, NSW Ports and Waterways Minister, Paul McLeay visited Albury and Lake Mulwala early this week.

McLeay met with NSW Maritime safety officers as well as representatives of recreational boating groups to hear firsthand about boating safety issues in the region.

“The Murray River is a significant recreational and holiday destination. Unfortunately, I am visiting the area under tragic circumstances following the loss of three lives and a number of very serious incidents on the river this summer,” McLeay said.

“In the past two years we have lost six lives and had 27 serious injuries from boating accidents on the river. This is more than double the 10-year average. If there’s something that needs to be done, I want to hear about it,” he said.

On December 24, 2009 a swimmer was killed in a propeller-strike incident when he was hit by a powerboat at Casey’s Bend; on December 25 a man died after the small punt he was in capsized on Lake Hume, and on January 24 a water skier died after hitting a timber log at Moama.

Other recent incidents involved a man receiving a severe laceration and broken leg after being hit by a boat propeller, a jetski crash, and a skiing accident where the skier fell and was knocked unconscious.

McLeay joined NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers for an on-water inspection of the Murray River and Lake Mulwala.

“We will be talking with the local boating community to learn firsthand about their experiences on the river and looking at ways to improve safety. We want to find ways to reduce the risk of serious boating accidents in this area,” McLeay said. He also indicated that the problem went beyond state borders.

“Eighty per cent of reported incidents over the past two years have involved Victorian registered vessels,” he said.