Not again!



TWEED Shire Council will be probed again by the State Government thanks to concerns from Commissioner Maurice Daly, the man who presided over the inquiry into council.

Council staff were put on notice on Thursday to re-open their files when Infrastructure and Planning Minister Craig Knowles announced the investigation in State Parliament.

Mr Knowles said the probe would focus on council's environmental planning and assessment functions and look at the possible appointment of a planning administrator.

It would also scrutinise the council's compliance with environmental planning laws and instruments.

Mr Knowles said the investigation had arisen after Commissioner Daly wrote to him about concerns he had with council, even before the inquiry wrapped up. He said Commissioner Daly had received evidence the council had not enforced parts of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

"I understand (he was) particularly concerned about the Tweed council's use of section 96 modifications and section 94 developer levies," Mr Knowles told Parliament.

The investigation is expected to begin immediately and will be privately conducted by the deputy director general of the Local Government Department Ross Woodward.

It will be similar to the investigation in the Bulford Report.

Council development services director Noel Hodges, who was indirectly critisised during the inquiry by Department of Environment and Conservation officers for ignoring advice, has welcomed the investigation.

He said the investigator would be given red-carpet treatment. Council had nothing to hide.

"I think it is great because we are finally going to be dealing with facts instead of rumour and innuendo," he said.

"I guarantee during the time I have been here, and before, there hasn't been one single thing done wrong by staff here.

"(The Local Government Department) probably had to do this because they couldn't find anything (through the inquiry)."

Tweed Mayor Warren Polglase echoed this view, but said the investigation should have been held before the inquiry.

"The Tweed Shire has got nothing to worry about whatsoever," he said.

"When I go to bed I can sleep well at night, there is nothing to worry about."

The investigation comes as a warning to other local governments processing major development applications on the coast.

Mr Knowles said these councils should be wary when making decisions.

"We choose to protect our coastal strip not concrete it. We require our local authorities to comply with the rules," he warned.



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