Southern Gold Coast political leaders have joined the bipartisan push to establish a Tweed Cross Border Community Zone as a solution to combat the growing border crisis.
The Cross Party Cross Border Taskforce met virtually late yesterday afternoon, joined by Member for Currumbin, Laura Gerber MP and Member for Burleigh, Michael Hart, both Queensland Liberal National Party representatives.
The Queensland MPs joined 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 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 changes in the border rules were essential to stop the drastic impact the closure was having on workers, families and businesses on both sides of the border.
“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,” Cr Cherry said.
“It was heartening to hear from the NSW Cross Border Commission James McTavish that the NSW and Queensland government are now talking about the issue and that further detailed negotiations are planned for this weekend.
“We have set partisan politics aside on this important issue and are united in our 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.
The group will invite representatives from the Queensland Government to join their next meeting next 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 the Regional Development Australia Northern Rivers.
The proposed Tweed Cross Border Community Zone would be established in the Tweed local government area as a pilot, with it to be expanded to surrounding LGAs should it prove successful.