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Tweed Shire News

Mayor welcomes ‘well-considered’ Independent Flood Inquiry

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Mayor welcomes ‘well-considered’ Independent Flood Inquiry

Rapid response on flood planning, land swap and buy-back programs needed

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry said she was impressed with the expansive work and detailed consideration evident in the Independent Flood Inquiry report released yesterday.

Releasing the 323-page report in Lismore yesterday, Premier Dominic Perrottet said of the 28 recommendations made by the report’s authors, Professor Mary O’Kane AC and former NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller APM, his government had accepted 6 immediately with the remaining 22 recommendations supported in-principle, pending further work and consultation with key stakeholders.

Some key recommendations include:

  • Reshaping Resilience NSW to become Recovery NSW to ensure a more streamlined agency focused on the first 100 days post a disaster
  • Migration off high-risk floodplains over time using a mixture of planning controls, land swaps, buy-backs and leveraging private investment in new developments
  • Creation of a full time Deputy Commissioner of Police focused on emergency management
  • Training for the community to assist with their ability to respond and recover from disasters; as well as greater training and support for the SES
  • Greater emphasis on affordable housing in the Northern Rivers, with adaptation plans for towns also to be developed over the next 3-5 years.

Cr Cherry said she was pleased with the report’s findings which would take some time to digest.

“There is an incredible amount of data and learnings in this report and I sincerely thank Professor Mary O’Kane and Mick Fullerton for their work and the care and consideration that is evident in the report,” Cr Cherry said.

“It will take a while to digest all of the information. In terms of the 28 recommendations, I am pleased to see a number of Council’s main advocacy points have been incorporated into the final document.

“The combining of the back-end of our SES and Rural Fire Service so they can operate together more seamlessly is a great example of this, as is the training of our community to be prepared for floods in the same way we are prepared for fire.”

However, Cr Cherry said the community had waited long enough and answers were needed now on a comprehensive response to move people off the floodplain.

“The sentence that strikes me most is that the ‘2022 floods must become the catalyst for change in the way governments and the community considers floods and floodplains’,” she said.

“Flood planning and land swap or buy-back programs are one of the main points of interest for Council and I hope we can see a detailed response to this recommendation coming forward as soon as possible.”

Mr Perrottet said the new Reconstruction and Disaster Prevention Authority would begin work immediately on the buyback and land swap schemes, with expressions of interest to be opened by the end of August.

The findings and recommendations followed an extensive Inquiry, which received 1,494 submissions and held 144 meetings with stakeholders, including a community forum at Tumbulgum on 4 May 2022.

Council also made a written submission to the inquiry following its adoption at the May Council meeting.

Tweed Shire was severely hit by the record February-March flood, with more than 2,100 homes damaged and an estimated 1,600 residents displaced by the event. Council estimates the damage to public infrastructure, including roads and Council buildings, will cost up to $100 million to repair.

To view the full Independent Flood Inquiry Report, visit nsw.gov.au/nsw-government/projects-and-initiatives/floodinquiry.

Entertainment

WYAA 2024: Tweed Regional Gallery Revives Youth Art Award

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Wollumbin Youth Art Award

WYAA 2024: Tweed Regional Gallery Revives Youth Art Award

 

The Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre is thrilled to herald the return of the esteemed Wollumbin Youth Art Award (WYAA) in conjunction with the highly anticipated 2024 Wollumbin Art Award.

Now extending an open invitation for submissions, this biennial accolade warmly welcomes budding artists aged 5 to 18 from the vibrant locales of Tweed, Byron, Ballina, Kyogle, Scenic Rim, Lismore, City of Gold Coast, and, for the inaugural time, Richmond Valley. Young creatives are encouraged to unleash their imaginations, as entries encompassing a diverse array of visual artworks across all subjects and mediums are eagerly anticipated. Alongside the prestige of recognition, prizes including art materials and a multitude of art-making opportunities valued at up to $1,000 await the brightest talents.

With dedicated categories tailored to each age bracket – ranging from 5–8 years to 16–18 years – the WYAA endeavours to celebrate the boundless ingenuity and artistic prowess of regional youth. Ingrid Hedgcock, esteemed Gallery Director, expressed her profound enthusiasm for the initiative, affirming, “This award stands as a testament to the exceptional abilities of our young artists, instilling within them a sense of pride and empowerment to craft works of enduring significance.”

The Gallery extends a warm welcome to Jodi Ferrari, the esteemed Children’s Gallery Coordinator at HOTA, Home of the Arts, who joins as the distinguished guest judge for the Youth award. Renowned for her expertise in curating immersive art experiences tailored for young audiences, Ms. Ferrari brings invaluable insight to the adjudication process.

Ms. Ferrari herself shared her anticipation, remarking, “I am eager to bear witness to the kaleidoscope of perspectives and boundless creativity showcased in this year’s submissions. It is a privilege to be entrusted by the Gallery to preside over this prestigious award, albeit one that promises to present a delightful challenge.”

Mark your calendars as the selected finalists earn the esteemed opportunity to showcase their masterpieces at the Gallery from September 6 to November 24, with the eagerly awaited award announcements set to unfold on September 7.

Generously sponsored by Friends of the Gallery, the Wollumbin Youth Art Award epitomizes a commitment to fostering and celebrating emerging talent within the artistic community.

The award features categories for different age groups:

  • 5–8 years
  • 9–12 years
  • 13–15 years
  • 16–18 years.

Don’t miss your chance to leave an indelible mark on the art world – entries for the WYAA 2024 are now open and will conclude at 5 pm on Monday, June 3, 2024.

For comprehensive details, including entry prerequisites, please visit the Gallery’s official website.

 

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Local News

Tweed Shire Council Introduces Fairer Water Access Charge Calculation for Non-Residential Properties

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Water Access Charge

Tweed Shire Council Introduces Fairer Water Access Charge Calculation for Non-Residential Properties

 

Tweed Shire Council is instituting significant changes to its Water Access Charge methodology for non-residential properties, aiming to foster equity among water customers. Effective July 1, 2024, the calculation process will shift gears, transitioning over a four-year period to a system based on the actual water consumption of each non-residential property.

Elizabeth Seidl, Water and Wastewater Business and Assets Engineer, emphasised the necessity of this shift, citing an existing imbalance where smaller water users subsidise larger ones due to the current meter-size-based calculation. Under the new system, which aligns with NSW legislation requiring revenue from such charges to be reinvested into the water network, nearly 75% of non-residential properties will witness no increase in their Water Access Charge.

Ms. Seidl elaborated on the anticipated impact, noting that the revised charge structure is projected to raise approximately $896,000 in additional revenue by the fourth year of implementation, reflecting the actual water consumption by non-residential properties. However, to assist businesses potentially affected by these changes, Council offers resources such as the online Access Charge Estimator and water-saving advice via their website.

In recognition of the potential financial implications for businesses, Council plans a phased approach to the increase over four years, allowing affected property owners ample time to adjust and implement water-saving measures. Ms. Seidl encouraged impacted businesses to engage with Council for support in navigating these changes and exploring strategies to minimise water usage and associated costs.

SIDE BAR

  1. Equitable Calculation: Tweed Shire Council is revising its method of calculating the Water Access Charge for non-residential properties to ensure fairness among all water customers.
  2. Shift in Calculation Basis: Starting from July 1, 2024, the charge will transition from being based on meter size to the actual amount of water used by each non-residential property over the next four years.
  3. Phased Implementation and Support: Council will phase-in the increase over four years to minimise the impact on affected businesses, while also providing support and resources for implementing water-saving measures to reduce overall water bills.

 

For more Tweed Shire news, click here.

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Local News

Tweed Residents Struggle with Rising Electricity Costs

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Tweed Residents Struggle with Rising Electricity Costs

 

A recent power survey conducted in Tweed has unveiled the financial strain felt by many residents due to rising electricity costs.

Tweed Shire Council took proactive measures by setting up a stall at Tweed City Shopping Centre, offering residents free information on energy-saving techniques.

During the event, residents were surveyed about their electricity bill experiences and were provided with expert advice on potential cost-saving measures for their next billing cycle.

The survey revealed that a significant number of residents are unknowingly paying a ‘loyalty tax’ by sticking with their current electricity provider. Independent Home Energy Advisor, Sebastian Crangle, who assisted at the stall, emphasised the importance of comparing electricity rates and exploring different providers.

He highlighted substantial variations in supply charges and tariffs, ranging from $1.36 to $1.98 per day, potentially resulting in a difference of over $55 per quarter without factoring in usage charges.

Moreover, residents were found to be paying a wide range of usage charges, with most opting for flat rates. Crangle advised residents to inquire about the most suitable plan for their circumstances or to negotiate with their current provider for competitive rates.

Council’s Sustainability Education Officer, Jane Moad, echoed Crangle’s advice, urging residents to take proactive steps.

Firstly, she recommended familiarising oneself with the electricity bill and comparing rates with other providers using platforms like energymadeeasy.gov.au. This comparison can empower residents to negotiate better deals with their current provider or consider switching to a more cost-effective option.

Additionally, Moad highlighted the importance of checking for eligible rebates, such as those offered by the NSW government for low-income earners, seniors, families, and individuals with medical conditions.

She also mentioned a one-off National Energy Bill Relief payment available to eligible households, potentially providing up to $700 in relief this year.

Residents interested in learning more about available rebates can visit here. Furthermore, Council encourages residents to provide feedback through its Home Energy Bills Survey, aimed at gaining deeper insights into the challenges faced by Tweed residents regarding energy costs and identifying areas where support is most needed. The survey can be accessed here and is open for completion until Tuesday, April 30th.

 

For more Tweed Shire news, click here.

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