Reece Byrnes is heading up the Labor ticket for the upcoming Tweed Shire Council elections. Mr Byrnes has been Deputy Mayor of Tweed Shire Council three times during the last council term; the Deputy Mayor term lasts for one year. Mr Byrnes is running with Russell Logan, Judith Choat, Robert Learmonth, Marie-Antoinette Rogers, and Peter Ruhanen.
If you are an incumbent, what specific changes have you personally initiated and supported?
As a community, we’ve faced many challenges. We have seen floods, fires and now we work through the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Despite these challenges, as your Deputy Mayor, I’ve been on your side working for you across our shire and together we have achieved a lot in this term.
Following the devastating floods in 2017, I successfully fought for the South Murwillumbah Business District to have a parking contribution fee waiver. This gave struggling new businesses a small boost in the aftermath of the flood.
I fought against the closure of the maternity ward at Murwillumbah Hospital, and the closure of the Tweed Valley Women’s service.
I’ve continually fought against the Liberal-Nationals’ agenda to build high-rise at Kingscliff and our coastal villages.
I’ve advocated hard for shark safety at our beaches, with more drones, and increased resources for our surf lifesavers. There’s still more to do, but our beaches are now safer than they ever have been with these measures.
With my support, the Pottsville community secured the long-fought-for Men’s Shed.
I delivered increased traffic safety at Bilambil Heights by installing a roundabout at the intersection of Scenic Drive/Simspon Drive.
I have also delivered on ‘Smile Safety’ signs along Casuarina Way to encourage motorists to keep to the safe speed limit.
I now continue to fight the Liberal-Nationals’ plan to close all four schools in Murwillumbah, and moved a successful motion to gain Council’s support against this closure.
Short Term Holiday Letting
What is your view on the new Short-Term Holiday Letting (STHL) rental legislation allowing any residential building in the Shire to be let on a short-term basis ie holiday, Airbnb etc?
STHL is something councils will have to continue to deal with due to the state legislation taking away many of the relevant policing controls.
Do you think STHL should be allowed 320 days a year or limited to a fewer number of days? If yes, how many days do you think that should be?
Whether it is 320 days or fewer, the housing crisis will remain due to other major factors.
How do you intend to impact homelessness in the Tweed?
There is a reason why we have a housing crisis on the Tweed. We don’t have a State or Federal Government that actually cares about people struggling to pay rent, pay a mortgage or even get into the housing market.
The consistent policy failure of the State and Federal Liberal Nationals is why we have the property market become unachievable for people to access.
In turn rents have ballooned and forced families to be sleeping in their cars.
One solution has worked around the globe – increase stock, build more public housing and provide more crisis accommodation.
I will continue to fight for our Shire to get the resources and housing we need to end this crisis.
Do you support the commercial extraction of groundwater (eg for water bottling) in Tweed Shire?
I supported removing of the clause in the Tweed LEP allowing for commercial extraction of groundwater. I will continue to support the prohibition of this industry in our LEP.
Do you think that commercial extraction should allow existing water licences to remain as the status quo, allow an increase in water extraction, or pursue a reduction and elimination of commercial water extraction? Why?
The water extraction licences are determined by the state, and they regulate (in volume) those who currently hold these licences.
What is your position on the maximum building height limit of 13.6m that applies to the majority of the shire?
I will continue to fight for and protect our three storey height limit along the coast and in the villages.
Construction of the Tweed Valley Hospital required rezoning (by the State Government) of protected farmland. What is your position on the protection of the remaining State Significant Farmland. Why?
Where do you stand on development in the Tweed, the need for growth and the balance with fabric and amenity, lifestyle, liveability and environment?
Gold Coast Airport has an impact on Tweed ‘flight-path’ communities, with curfews regularly being tested. This will likely be exacerbated as the airport meets its growth targets. How would you work to mitigate this impact for the community?
Should developers be allowed variations on the DCP, LEP and other planning controls or should these policies be strictly enforced?
Would you prioritise community and environment or development?
We always need to get the balance right between protecting our precious environment and supporting appropriate development to create more local housing and secure local jobs.
Locals are well aware that I always fight against the Liberals and Nationals massive plans for over-development in our region.
Last term, as a community we worked together to stop the Liberal-Nationals’ plan to build high-rise at Kingscliff.
I will continue to fight for and protect our 3 storey height limit along the coast and in the villages.
As for the airport, I will continue to work with residents on best outcomes for amenity.
Do you support Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration and strong action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
Do you support increased funding to protect Tweed’s internationally significant environment?
Do you support allowing forestry in private native forests?
This industry is regulated by the State Government; however, any kind of forestry must be conducted in a sustainable way that does endanger native or endangered species.
Do you support the Rail Trail, mutli-modal line or a train line? Why?
I support the Rail Trail.
Political party affiliation
Have you been, or are you, affiliated with any political parties? Please provide party name and membership period.
I am a member of the Labor Party, and unlike the many National Party candidates running in this election, I do not hide that fact.
If yes, how much will you be influenced by your party policies and agendas?
By being honest with locals about my party affiliations, they know where I stand and what my values are. Labor values are about fairness and putting people first.
If the opportunity arose would you quit council to run for a state or federal seat?
My focus as a current Councillor and a candidate in this election is to continue to serve the people of the Tweed Shire in this role.