RECENTLY appointed Cross-border commissioner James McTavish has accepted the challenge from NSW Premier Mike Baird for the position to carry more clout.
Mr McTavish has taken over from the inaugural commissioner, Steve Toms, who was based in northern NSW and came under fire from Albury business owners during Mr Baird’s visit last week.
He attended his first Riverina and Murray Regional Organisation of Councils meeting at Jerilderie yesterday and will visit Albury later this month.
Business owners questioned the impact of the role in Albury-Wodonga and Mr Baird conceded the government had to wear the criticism before vowing Mr McTavish would be more visible.
“I understand the frustration people feel,” Mr McTavish said.
“I know they deal with these issues every day and they are really interested in making positive change.
“They want their business to be straight forward and I understand the angle they are coming from.”
Mr McTavish said he was well aware of the magnitude of some of the issues.
“There is an enormous amount to do to make business easier to transact.
“There is an enormous economic relationship between Albury and Wodonga and between Albury and the broader state of Victoria.
“Businesses in Albury are controlled by NSW and Commonwealth legislation and similarly there is the community and social aspects we also need to consider.
“It is a great place to live, but my role is to make it a little easier, better and enjoyable.”
Mr McTavish has meetings booked in with Murray-Riverina NSW Business Chamber regional manager Ben Foley and Albury Council director Tracey Squire.
“I can’t fix everything, but where I can have some influence I have a commitment to do so,” Mr McTavish said.
“Where I can’t I will be honest and say I can’t.”
The commissioner was appointed in 2012.