Border leaves business in state of gloom

By ANITA HULM

THE NSW-Queensland border is the biggest hindrance to the economic zone which is the Gold Coast and the Tweed region.

This is the view of business leaders and strategists on both sides of the border who feel area businesses are penalised with having to cope with two bureaucracies.

Some of the industries affected are taxi drivers, tourism businesses and tradespersons who all must be licensed in both states if they wish to work in both.

New figures from the Tweed Economic Development Corporation have revealed that a population of 73,000 people work and shop within a 10km radius of the Tweed City shopping centre.

For these people, the state boundary is invisible, but not for the businesses which operate in them.

President of the Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce Barry McNamara said Queensland did have lower taxes for many things, but this made little difference to border-based businesses because they had the extra costs of licensing.

Mr McNamara said differences in state legislation meant there were always more banking businesses in Coolangatta than Tweed Heads.

"And if there was not the petrol subsidy in NSW, Coolangatta would be full of petrol stations and there would be none in Tweed," Mr McNamara said.

Mr McNamara said there was a need for a buffer zone which would allow businesses to operate on the Queensland and NSW sides of the border without double the paperwork and costs.

The Tweed Economic and Development Corporation's CEO, Tom Senti, said some of the major hindrances for the Tweed were the cost of NSW workers' compensation schemes which was at least double the cost for the same system operating in Queensland.

He said the other major issue was payroll tax.

Mr Senti is part of a group formed from both sides of the border which is looking at the best way to reduce the border anomalies.

In the past month the group has gone further afield to look for answers, including talks with the Albury City Council which sits on the southern border of NSW and creates an economic zone with Wodonga in Victoria.

One thing that is in the Tweed's favour is its attractiveness to people moving here.

"In the past people moved to the cities where the work is but now businesses are moving to where the people are going to be," Mr Senti said.



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