Secret report on playground fencing

A SECRET report being prepared for Tweed Shire councillors on the need to fence playgrounds, including the Tweed Heads South park where toddler Travis McCarron drowned, is likely to stay under wraps for at least another three weeks.

The secrecy means members of the public will be denied the opportunity to comment on the report or its recommendations at a community access meeting on October 13.

Members of a Murwillumbah-based group which has been campaigning for fencing of playgrounds in the wake of the tragedy have been told the report is being prepared for the October 20 council meeting

Council staff have told them until then, as an internal working document, it is confidential and “there is no real point in coming to community access” as the councillors won't be aware of what is in the report until they have had a behind-closed-doors workshop to discuss it after the community access meeting.

Adding to the secrecy surrounding the report - which has been promised almost since Travis drowned nearly 18 months ago - is a warning to the group if they forward or otherwise distribute emailed replies to their questions about what is happening they 'may be personally liable for a breach of confidentiality'.

A founding member of the group, Lisa Townsend, said the secrecy was curious.

“I am puzzled by the logic of this confidentiality,” she said. “Obviously after councillors have already voted on the issue, it is too late.”

Ms Townsend pointed out that before the last council election all councillors except Cr Dot Holdom indicated their support for fencing for playgrounds which had safety issues, especially the one in Murwillumbah's Knox Park.

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