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September 20, 2021

Tweed Cross Border Community Zone gets support from all parties

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The News South Wales – Queensland border marker at Tweed Heads/Coolangatta, where local politicians agree that the recent tightening of health criteria to cross, has now pushed the border situation from unacceptable to untenable.

On Friday afternoon a virtual meeting was held by local politicians from both sides of the NSW/Queensland border who have united to establish a Tweed Cross Border Community Zone as a solution to combat the growing border crisis.

From Queensland the meeting included Member for Currumbin, Laura Gerber MP and Member for Burleigh, Michael Hart, both Queensland Liberal National Party representatives. They were joined by 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 bipartisan support to work together for the benefit of the cross-border region.

The leaders shared stories of frustration and desperation of residents and businesses in their respective communities. All agreed that the recent tightening of health criteria to cross the border had now pushed the border situation from unacceptable to untenable.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Mayor of Tweed Shire, Chris Cherry said there was a united view that bringing back the border bubble was essential to alleviating the drastic impact the border closure was having on local workers, families and businesses on both sides of the border and that establishing the Tweed Cross Border Community Zone was one way this could be achieved.

Distressed residents

‘We have all heard from distressed residents in our respective communities about lost jobs, family separation, health impacts and business owners going to the wall due to this harsh border lockdown.

‘It was heartening to hear from the NSW Cross Border Commissioner James McTavish that the NSW and Queensland government are talking about the issue and that further detailed negotiations are planned for this weekend. We appreciate their efforts responding to our calls to do all that can be done to ease the impacts on the daily lives of our shared cross border communities.

Cr Cherry said the group have set partisan politics aside on this important issue and are united in their resolve to work together for our collective community. ‘We have a proud history of being the Twin Towns with a community interwoven across the border.’

Another meeting this week

The group will invite representatives from the Queensland Government to join a meeting this week for further perspectives on how to resolve the crisis.

A representative of the City of Gold Coast also attended the meeting as an observer, as did Regional Development Australia Northern Rivers.

The proposed Tweed Cross Border Community Zone would be established in the Tweed local government area as a pilot, encompassing the border checkpoints the group agreed to at its first meeting. It would be expanded to surrounding LGAs should it prove successful.


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