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Byron Shire
September 22, 2021

Bipartisan call for Tweed Shire border zone

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Political leaders on the North Coast, from across the political spectrum, have decided to work together to urgently call for the establishment of a Tweed Cross Border Community Zone as a solution to combat the growing border crisis.

The call followed a meeting yesterday between Mayor of Tweed Chris Cherry (independent), Tweed MP Geoff Provest (Nationals), Ballina MP Tamara Smith (Greens), Lismore MP Janelle Saffin (Labor) and Ballina MLC Catherine Cusack (Liberal) in a show of bi-partisan support to work together for the benefit of the region.

The group unanimously agreed to support and empower Tweed MP Geoff Provest to make urgent representations on their behalf to the NSW Premier and Deputy Premier to engage the NSW Cross Border Commissioner, in conjunction with Regional NSW and Tweed Shire Council, to develop a proposal to establish a pilot cross border community zone around the Tweed local government area (LGA).

Tweed Shire Mayor Chris Cherry spoke on behalf of the leaders saying ‘Every day we’re hearing case after case of the dire impacts the border closure is having on our families and businesses across the Northern Rivers.

‘We cannot sit by and watch our communities crumble like this. We have to work together to forge a solution that works for the benefit of all – while ensuring we maintain a COVID-Safe community moving forward,’ Cr Cherry said.

‘The combination of lockdown and hard border closure means our residents and businesses are experiencing extremely harsh restrictions. Some business owners are unable to physically access their own premises, the construction industry is completely shut down and there are no “buddy bubbles” even for immediate family members and partners.’

Expand to other LGAs

The proposed Tweed Cross Border Community Zone is in keeping with a letter sent by Cr Cherry to the premiers of NSW and Queensland last week calling for the establishment of checkpoints on the southern and western extremities of the Tweed.

It is also in line with similar calls by local Federal Labor MP Justine Elliot and some Ballina and Byron councillors who supported a Northern Rivers border zone in The Echo yesterday.

‘The new checkpoints would replace the hard border control on the Queensland border at Coolangatta, Numinbah and Tomewin, allowing Tweed residents to return to work, hospitals and schools, while adhering to existing public health orders,’ said the press release by Cr Cherry.

‘Should the initial pilot prove successful, the zone could be expanded to include the Byron, Ballina and Lismore LGAs and potentially be a model for other border or strategic regions in the state.’

Cr Cherry said ‘We understand this solution is out of the box and will create a new “cliff face” to the south of the Tweed, but we need to try something urgently,’ Cr Cherry said.

‘Statistics show this would be the best solution for the region and could allow the northern NSW economy to return to normality – as much as that is possible – in these current times.’

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  1. Can someone please explain why these incompetent politicians continue to push for a border zone than rather lobby the federal government to force the states to remove all state border restrictions and manage this Australian health pandemic by individual LGA’s.
    Sadly the Queensland government is playing politics and this is now no longer about managing a health crisis and sadly our federal government politicians are allowing this to occur.
    Having a state border inhibiting movement between two zones with no cases demonstrates that it achieves nothing and is protecting no one. All this has achieved is to cause undue stress on businesses, families and the separation of border communities for no intelligent and legitimate reason. It’s time to remove all state borders in Australia and demonstrate this can be managed by a traffic light system between LGA’s. Let’s show the world we are intelligent again. Clearly something our politicians and community leaders are failing to do by continually advocating a border zone.

  2. Makes perfect sense if Byron Bay was restricted to Qld holiday makers as well. It made no sense last border closure when Byron was full of the Sydney crowd who were rubbing shoulders with all the day trippers from the Gold Coast and Brisbane. However, the unfortunate reality is that with Delta and the high level of anti vaxxers and anti mask wearers in our Shire, Queensland wont extend their lock down border South of the Tweed Shire. Using the Tweed Shire border is logistically sound as well there are only 2 roads for checkpoints.

  3. To quote the Wiggles wake up Geoff. But when will you get it done??? No one engaged from Queensland in the meeting. The root cause of the problem is in Queensland so apart from a talkfest what is the plan?

  4. COVID-19 Delta Strain has ‘no’ border to contend with. we desperately need children as young as possible to be vaccinated, including adults of all age immediately.
    This collective group of bi-partisan political pundits to engage; “the NSW Cross Border Commissioner, in conjunction with Regional NSW and Tweed Shire Council, to develop a proposal to establish a pilot cross border community zone around the Tweed local government area (LGA).”
    Question: Where?

  5. The byron shie needs access to the tweed as we have no real depth of nonconvenience shopping facilities…the border is a pertinent yet separate issue

  6. I think everyone should take in this sentence:
    “Tweed Shire Mayor Chris Cherry spoke on behalf of the leaders saying ‘Every day we’re hearing case after case of the dire impacts the border closure is having on our families and businesses across the Northern Rivers.”
    In a pandemic dire impact is when the virus strikes down people and puts them into hospital or in a morgue. That is a dire impact of a pandemic.
    It is not about economics.
    Dire impacts is about health sickness and death. Economic casualties are trivialities compared to the dire impacts on health, sickness and death.
    All the Far North Coast and the Northen Rivers from media report is free of the Virus. It is free of the virus. To open up the border it puts that area into danger in its Health aspects from the virus and becomes more of a tourist destination.
    In todays report from Gladys Berjiklian of increased 919 cases the new areas were the South Coast the Centrral Coast at Bateau Bay and the area east of Canberra. They are all tourist holiday areas when people escape the city and go and get relief. They also take the virus with them.

  7. I agree ,Love this area ,and sitting by and looking peoples life’s are being destroyed economically! I can’t believe we can’t even go to Coolangatta,one side of the road is Nsw ,and the other Queensland,it’s that close ! It’s unbelievable!My family ,live inQueensland ,and it’s surely causing barriers with us !

  8. I’ve had my 2 phizer injections I live in Tweed heads NSW and work in Queensland I’m doing it tough and I am worried about loosing my job because I am a casual worker it has taken me a long time to get a job but the Queensland premiere and NSW Premier are going to make me loose my job

    • Ditto, I’m not going to rant, I’ve lost enough of my life, 3 o’clock in the morning, thinking about how I also cant get to work..to provide long term security and financial stibility to my family.What a joke. Sort it out quick smart, I hope everyone responsible in the local gov are loosing sleep also, maybe then we will get an awakening, a stern hit of responsibility and positive change.

  9. What would be good would be for people tone allowed to catch a taxi from Tweed Shire to Cooly airport. IF I get an entry exemption to Vic, at the mo I can only travel to Melbourne via Cooly. There are currently no direct flights out of Ballina to Melb. Otherwise, I have to drive 1,500km to Central Vic.

    All so maddening but the polls couldn’t give a rats.

  10. Splitting up of families is a big issue. No easy solution in the circumstances.

    But for every cloud there is a silver lining – and that silver lining is the shutting down of the construction sector, giving natural areas and farmland a reprieve

  11. A friend just bought a nice sailing boat to live on, they are docked in the Gold Coast. Their belongings are in storage in Tweed Heads. In order to get their belongings, according to current QLD health restrictions, they can cross into Tweed Heads but will have to fly in an aeroplane to get back across the border. This means driving from Tweed Heads where their belongings are to Balina in order to get a flight to the Gold Coast, then quarantine for 14 days. This is the craziest restriction yet. Not having a border bubble is devastating and impossible and insane.

  12. People should now realise just how important their vote is. If only a few more people had voted Labor at the last State election we would not be having this circus. The QLD and NSW Labor Govt’s would have done a deal and moved the covid border to Ballina as has been their plan for well over a year. Even Peter Dutton has stated this is a No Brainer and should be done ASAP? There is only one reason this fiasco is happening and that fiasco is the Morrison Govt quarrentine failure that caused this.
    Then there is the State failures of Provest, Berejiklian, Hazzard, remember that, at all of the next elections, whenever that may be. Don’t count on anything for the remainder of this year and well into the next? NSW is now in effect an LNP leper colony it’s borders sealed by the rest of the Nation!

  13. How about we report the numbers of suicides and suicide attempts instead of COVID numbers, maybe then politicians will understand the full effects of what this border closure is doing. And it might just highlight QLD’S lack of faith in their health system, but long term effects of mental health will cost far more than COVID will

  14. Big call in that last sentence, Ziggy! And as I understand it the Qld government have made the offer but NSW gov doesn’t want it?

  15. My surgery at the John Flyn hospital GC has been cancelled… All hospitals are different, but because my Surgeon works out of the John Flynn hospital, they have said they will not allow people from NSW… unless its a cancer operation.


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