Border issues to be discussed

THE State's first Cross Border Commissioner Steve Toms and Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services Andrew Stoner will visit Ballina next week to learn first-hand about the challenges faced by communities near the Queensland border.

Mr Toms and Mr Stoner will join Member for Ballina Don Page to meet Ballina business owners and other community stakeholders on Wednesday March 21 as part of a border community tour. Representatives from Ballina Council, the Master Builders Association, Ballina Chamber of Commerce, NSW Business Chamber, and Norco Co-op Ltd have been invited to meet with Mr Toms, Mr Stoner and Mr Page.

"People in Ballina and other border communities face a range of location-specific disadvantages such as tax anomalies, different transport rules, and health and education issues," Mr Stoner said.

"The NSW Government created the role of Cross Border Commissioner to provide an advocate who will champion these issues, and Mr Toms and I are looking forward to meeting with Ballina business owners and community groups."

Mr Page said the visit was an important step in addressing cross border concerns.

"Over many years, I have fought to ensure that residents and businesses in Ballina and other border communities are not disadvantaged by cross border issues," Mr Page said.

"I am glad representatives of businesses and community organisations in Ballina will have the opportunity to share their concerns directly with the Cross Border Commissioner and the Deputy Premier at stakeholder meetings next Wednesday."

Mr Toms said it was important to understand the key concerns of affected communities like Ballina so he could provide effective advice to the NSW Government to improve services and support. As Mayor of Glenn Innes Severn and former resident of several border communities, he is familiar with the issues facing people living on or near a border.

"These stakeholder meetings are not about telling people what to do to solve their problems, but rather listening to concerns and gaining a better understanding of the issues," Mr Toms said.

"Following these meetings, I will report back to the NSW Government and begin to develop recommendations that will help address the unique problems of living in border communities.

"I also invite any interested residents, business owners and stakeholders to attend a community meeting to be held on Wednesday March 21 in Tweed Heads.

"There will be other opportunities for residents, business owners and other community stakeholders to provide input and help address border issues."

The Tweed Heads community meeting will take place between 1pm and 2pm on Wednesday March 21 at Tweed Ultima. Registrations can be made via email on denise.martin@industry.nsw.gov.au or by phoning 02 6393 0006. If there is availability, registrations will also be accepted on the morning.

For more information on cross border issues or to email the Cross Border Commissioner, visit the Cross Border Commissioner web page.



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