Tweed Mayor Katie Milne.
Tweed Mayor Katie Milne. Nigel Hallett

'Tweed Council is full of clowns' - MP

NATIONALS MP Geoff Provest says the Tweed Shire Council is "full of clowns" after Councillor Reece Byrnes criticised the Tweed politician for slugging ratepayers with State Government bills.

The criticism came after NSW Shadow Minister for Local Government Greg Warren told NSW Parliament last week that the State Government had "stripped councils of their powers" and forced them to slash services and increase rates by making them foot the bill for the $19m Fire Emergency Service Levy.

Cr Byrnes said Mr Warrren was "spot on".

"The job of rates, rubbish and roads has simply gotten harder to deliver under Geoff Provest and his Liberal National Government," Cr Byrnes said.

"More and more this Council has either picked up the tab, or done the work for what is frankly a harsh Government, and a silent and ineffective State Member in Geoff Provest.

 

Reece Byrnes
Reece Byrnes SCOTT POWICK

"I call on the Liberal/National endorsed Councillors to condemn Geoff Provest and his Liberal-National Government's poor record on supporting Council and ratepayers."

Mr Provest told the Tweed Daily News he dismissed Cr Byrnes' comments, labelling the council a "circus" that was "full of clowns".

"Councillor Byrnes is working in the Federal members office, he's just following the opposition's lines, I dispute the claims he's made," he said.

"Since we came into Government we've contributed $100m that went to parks, roads, cycleways, the Men's Shed," he said.

"At times council has deliberately gotten in the way of these programs to stretch them out, the performance of the majority of the council is absolutely abysmal, whether it's a hospital, rail trail, Men's Shed, everytime they request extra funding, we deliver.

"We're fortunate we have good council officers, but not good councillors, I get more complaints about the lack of council performance than anything else.

"In the last 12 months they've spent $1.4 million on failed Land and Environment Court challenges, which looking at their balance sheet, they have $750,000 a year to fix potholes in their roads, I strongly suggest Cr Byrnes worries more about potholes which he's obviously ignored than cheap political shots.

"It's like he's living on a different planet."

 

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Tweed MP Geoff Provest.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Tweed MP Geoff Provest. Supplied

Mayor Katie Milne said she did not want to fight with Mr Provest and believed the council had a "very productive relationship" with the NSW Government.

"Yes we did have a falling out over the hospital and have gripes over public transport and homelessness, but I don't want to make it personal and want to have a constructive relationship," she said.

"I don't think those comments are a very good example of leadership. Sometimes we don't agree, but that's the role of different levels of Government, we don't just want everyone backing each other.

"I welcome Geoff to sit down and talk with me if he has particular concerns."

National party aligned councillor Warren Polglase said he would not be condemning Mr Provest as called on by Cr Byrnes.

"That's the issue we have when we have elected political parties in council, they toe the party line and flog the party slogans," he said.

"With the hospital, political parties got involved, it created a big divide in the community, the hospital is going ahead, lets go back to the basics and put the party policy's in a bag.

"It's detrimental to the Tweed Shire involving political activities and will destroy the outcomes council is trying to achieve.

"A little tip I'd have for Councillor Byrnes would be to look at the scoreboard."


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