Council boss coy over ?stunt? plan

By BRAD RICKS

THE Tweed Shire Council is keeping quiet on discussions with the State Government over a proposed "State Plan", with council boss Mike Rayner deciding it was "inappropriate" to comment.

NSW Attorney General Bob Debus led a party of State Government delegates to Tweed on Monday for meetings with council officials, selected residents and local community leaders.

The meetings were arranged to discuss the idea of a state plan, which Premier Morris Iemma has described as a way of "shaping public policy over the next 10 years".

Tweed Council general Manager Mike Rayner was one of the first people to meet with Mr Debus on Monday to discuss the needs of this region in relation to such a plan.

However, yesterday he refused to reveal the nature of these discussions.

"It wasn't our meeting, it's not really appropriate for me to comment," Mr Rayner said.

Mr Debus also refused to speak about the discussions with the council, and would only comment on the forums with selected residents and community leaders.

He told the Daily News that development seemed to be a consistent theme throughout the meetings, with many people who attended calling on the State Government to pay more attention to its planning. "There were a lot of people saying that they wanted better guidelines in place for planning when it comes to development, but also saying they wanted agricultural land protected," he said. "This feedback will be used for the State Plan and it will be passed on to Frank Sartor's (Planning Minister) office."

Mr Debus acknowledged that the plan already had critics, with some members of the opposition describing it as a publicity stunt.

He said formulating such a plan, based on community consultation, was important for the future direction of regions like the Tweed.

"We (the Government) will be judged by how we respond to the feedback provided to us for the State Plan," he said.



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