Sunday, June 23, 2024

Cross Border Commissioner a win for communities says LGAQ

Queensland councils have welcomed the announcement of funding in today’s State Budget to establish a Cross Border Commissioner for Queensland to improve the liveability of local communities whose lives traverse across two different states every day.

The new role will help manage cross-border issues and work collaboratively with NSW on service delivery matters and to pursue economic opportunities, the Queensland Government said in a statement.

Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) CEO, Alison Smith said Queensland’s border councils had been fierce in their advocacy for the establishment of the role, with the need for the position further highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to thank the State Government for listening to these councils and their communities and funding this role,” Ms Smith said.

“Today’s announcement is testament to the hard work and the advocacy of our border councils who have never stopped pushing for this office to be established.”

Goondiwindi Regional Council Mayor, Lawrence Springborg said the Cross Border Commissioner role was something he and his community had sought for more than a decade.

“Unless you live in a border community, it is hard to contemplate the difficulties that come with navigating life under different systems and regulations, separated by mere millimetres,” Mayor Springborg said.

“Our community has long pushed for this, and it is something I have long pushed for on their behalf, as a previous Member of Parliament and now as Mayor.

“I welcome the announcement and look forward to the Queensland Cross Border Commissioner getting down to work with their New South Wales counterpart to make life easier and more seamless for our communities we work and live amongst.” 

Balonne Shire Council Mayor and chair of the South West Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils, Samantha O’Toole said Queensland’s border communities had established close relationships with interstate neighbours to ensure residents can trade and access essential services easily like heath care and schooling, and to lend a hand when disasters strike but could not solve every issue on their own.

“A Cross Border Commissioner can help break down any intergovernmental barriers and ensure support and resourcing can be shared quickly,” she said.

“They can navigate more complex border problems like cross border policing and ensuring residents have access to the services they need, closer to home.

“It is a critical position that has been working well in other states like New South Wales and South Australia.

“I want to thank the State Government for listening to our advocacy on this issue and establishing this position.”

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