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Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Tweed to debate Byron merger

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Staff reporters

Tweed Shire Council will today discuss a range of options to operate more cost-effectively, including several options that would see it absorb Byron Shire Council entirely.

The amalgamation plan is one of a number being put to Tweed Council by staff as a way of saving money.

Tweed GM David Keenan told media that the council would at this stage merely be discussing ‘whether they believe there is some merit in what’s been put forward in the discussion paper’.

‘There are a number of options in there, and one of the options is to retain the status quo,’ he said to ABC yesterday.

A similar concept was flagged by Byron United (chamber of commerce) president Paul Waters back in May but was flatly rejected by Byron’s mayor Jan Barham and deputy mayor Basil Cameron.

Under current state government arrangements, councils can merge but only if the majority of councillors of both existing entities support the move.

At the time Mr Waters told Echonetdaily, ‘Economy of scale seems to work for larger councils and other council areas that have been subjected to amalgamation in Queensland and Victoria’.

But the mayor responded, ‘No doubt we need more money, but it wouldn’t solve any major issues financially and it would take away the autonomy of our residents. We have a right to be different; our reputation is built on that as well as our efforts to protect diversity in the region.’

Under current state government policy, councils can only merge if a majority of both councils support it. But at last year’s council talkfest, Destination 2036, the issue of amalgamations was raised as a way for smaller, less financially viable councils to improve their bottom lines.


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12 COMMENTS

  1. We are about to elect a new Council. If we elect a pro-development Council they will give Tweed Council the green light to absorb Byron Council.
    When that happens Byron Shire will disappear off the map. Check out Tweed – that will be us.
    All of Byron’s individuality, human-scale development, culture and environmental protection will be legislated out of existence.
    It’s up to us, only we voters can save the shire.

  2. Already tweed staff travel great distances using rate payer funded vehicles to travel to home and work, funded in a very small way by way of staff contribution.
    It’s a lurk that most councils have where they utilise vehicle expenditure for their own purposes, so much a total waste of funds and only adds to the rates burden.
    If the tweed staff also had to drive to byron as part of their travel time, how much would that increase costs for all rate payers if they had travel to byron also?
    Stop the waste of funds by all council staff, have them drive to work in their own vehicle and pick up the vehicle from there and use it for work purposes only, nothing else.

  3. NO way should Byron Council be assorbed by Tweed…Council.
    We will never get any road work or bridges repaided here in our Byron shire if that happens… WE should stand up against this say NO TAXS with out our proper representation….
    At present we pay council rates Byron & we get very little for it… I & we have to pressure Byron council to do road works here…..If we merge with Tweed then we will never get anything done here…. SAY NO TO BYRON Council been Swallowed up by Tweed council… Stand up for your rights & shout loud NO NO NO NO NO NO

  4. In response to Brendo Shero’s letter opposing Byron’s amalgamation with Tweed Shire.
    A typically selfish response from a Byron resident.
    We of Tweed Shire would happily share those of our formerly sacked (by the NSW Parliament) Councillors.
    Take our formerly sacked Mayor (and current Councillor) – Warren Polglase . . . . . . . . . . . Please!
    The 2004 Council, sacked by the State Government with a subsequent Inquiry finding he and the others of his “independents” group “presented themselves to be independents when they were . . . . funded largely by developers” and “essentially represented a fraud deliberately foisted on the community”.
    Be reasonable, Brendo and think of others besides yourself.
    As a gesture of good will, and in the spirit of sharing, I’m sure we residents of Tweed could rustle up the taxi fare so Councillor Polglase could move to Byron and promote the developer agenda personally and lay the groundwork for a truly progressive (I think “progressive” is the correct code), amalgamated Council.

  5. Or the other side of the coin, Tourism and jobs will be created, holes in roads will be fixed and we can still protect the beauty of the place. I mean what council in there right mind would argue against cameras to monitor the little animals that get around in town at 2 am in the morning drunk ?

  6. Perhaps it would be far better if Byron absorbed Tweed. While we’re at it, perhaps we should abolish State Governments and the associated high costs of supporting replicated state services and politicians.

  7. Wouldn’t it be smarter to secede to QLD jointly with the Tweed, enjoy light rail to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, great roads and many other benefits that are denied to us by the NSW State government..

  8. Byron Shire is a unique icon in the Council landscape of the NSW north coast.
    An amalgamation to Tweed Shire would result in being swallowed up by an extension of the red neck Gold Coast.
    Fight for your independence.
    Vote for pro independence candidates.
    Alok

  9. Bozo
    I think you miss the point mate, There are already many Byron Shire employees that drive great distances to work in Byron in Council vehicles, some from Lismore and the Gold Coast. That is common to all NSW Councils, so amalgamation won’t change that one bit!

    Caterina’s conspiracy theory sounds scary doesn’t it? – if only it were true! The facts are that if the majority of Councillors don’t want amalgamation, it won’t happen – bang goes the conspiracy theory!

    Byron Sire residents should look at the financial status of their Council – it is a basket case. Granted, economics isn’t the only driver in the world, but it helps deliver some of the basic services that Byron Shire has been incapable of delivering for many residents. Have a good hard, honest look at the infrastructure on Byron’s Main Beach – are the current facilities really sustainable development worthy of such an iconic destination??

    Despite what you may have heard of Tweed Shire – it isn’t all bad – sure, we have some monstrosities (Casuarina Beach springs to mind) – but there are some great biodiversity gains also happening there, and some very dedicated and environmentally conscious people.

    I’ve had the privilege of working for Byron Shire, and live in Tweed, so have got a pretty good handle on what the pros and cons would be. It is though, purely academic – Byron Shire Councillors will never acknowledge that “bigger is better” – despite the fact that they are actually unsustainable.

  10. It wont happen with Tweed as NSW govt look for a population of 100,000 – Tweed already has this.
    Ballina, Lismore is more probable. Has anyone seen how descent the roads and street scapes are in these two town??
    True Bozo, “the council would never vote for this” – but it could be forced upon them if they are broke and unsustainable.

  11. I think we have to accept that there are some benefits of amalgamations, but why Tweed? And Ballina gets mentioned some times to . Poor old Lismore gets left out as a possibility. However, when I think of the sorts of people that are in all those shires it is those in the Lismore council area that Byron people are more similar to . Surely that is more important than also having lots of sand.

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