Moving border would cause ‘civil war’, councillor warns
WHILE Tweed councillors have no decision-making power in the border debate, the shire's community leaders are well versed in the issue of shifting state lines.
Earlier this week NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed she was not in favour of moving the Queensland/NSW border checkpoints south to the Tweed River but moving them south of the Tweed Shire could be considered.
This is despite the push by the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to move the border south to ease traffic congestion.
Councillor Ron Cooper said the Tweed community have been fighting against the Gold Coast spilling into the Tweed since 1983.
"There is no chance of changing the state border. There would be a civil war," he said.
"I note the checkpoint delay is down to 23 minutes. This cost of managing a crisis is surely a first-world problem."
This view was seconded by deputy mayor Chris Cherry who said shifting the border checkpoint would essentially divide our community in half.
"Residents from Kingscliff, Pottsville, Chinderah would have to cross the Queensland border checkpoint just to go to Tweed City or Tweed Mall or all of our major industrial areas like Machinery Drive," she said.
"It would mean they would have to cross the border to go to Tweed Hospital, it would not work and would just make the problem someone else's."
Cr Warren Polglase said moving the border just "would not happen" and the issues with traffic had been largely addressed with the new-look seven day border declarations rolled out.
While councillor Pryce Allsop said if inspection points were moved further south at the expense of the Queensland Government it would most likely help traffic congestion and affected businesses in Tweed Heads.
"Reducing the risks of COVID-19 is essential and reducing mass congestion at the current location would benefit many, expanding the protection zone has its merits and many benefits," he said.
Cr Reece Byrnes said he believed the proposal "reasonable and sensible in what are difficult times".
Mayor Katie Milne initially said moving the border checkpoint further south would create chaos in the community and be strongly opposed by council.
She even sent a letter to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian urging her not to agree with the request, instead suggesting checkpoints be pushed further north to the Bilinga Tugun area.
However, the mayor now proposes an alternative to shift the border blockade to southern end of the Tweed Shire.
"There are only three locations on the Motorway, Tweed Valley Way and Kyogle Rd that would require checkpoints," she said.
"This option would still impact residents and businesses however it is likely to be significantly less than the current arrangements.
Cr James Owen also wrote to the Queensland Premier to propose a change to border declarations for a 'locals only' pass.
Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler later labelled as 'unfeasible'.