Zealous battle for chamber

By PETER CATON

THE battle for the seat of power in Murwillumbah is on.

Two bitterly opposed factions are gearing up to take control.

But it's not a re-run of fighting for power in Tweed Shire Council. This time the prize is control of the Murwillumbah District Business Chamber.

One side - led by former shire councillor Phil Youngblutt, 70, who failed to win re-election to the now-sacked council in March last year - says it is im- portant to re-establish a strong chamber following the appointment of council administrators.

But the other side says politics should have nothing to do with the council.

Its leader is Toni Zuschke, one of the current chamber's directors and cofounder of a local advertising agency which coincidentally worked on the council election campaign of sacked councillor Max Boyd - now one of the three council administrators.

She reckons the battle for control of the chamber to be played out in the Murwillumbah Hotel tomorrow night is simply the "Murwillumbah mafia" trying to hang on to a power base.

"They are trying to regain hold," she said.

"In the last four to five years they were too busy trying to run for council and they left us alone."

She said the chamber needed to "keep a strong voice" and talk with the council on some issues, but most members "don't give a stuff about politics".

Mr Youngblutt - who runs a garden- ing service and roadside fruit stall on the Tweed Valley Way south of Murwillumbah - reckons the chamber has gone into "serious decline", with a large drop in membership.

He wants to halve the current $99 annual membership fees to draw in new members, especially from growing light industrial areas.

Just over a month ago the original date for the vote for a new board was adjourned amid uproar.

Both candidates are expecting a colourful meeting again tomorrow night.



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