We want to know
By BOB ANTHONY Jnr
NSW Opposition leader Peter Debnam has been challenged to "come clean" on the impact his plan to cut the state's public service by 29,000 will have on the Tweed.
The challenge came on the eve of Mr Debnam bringing his shadow cabinet to the Tweed to meet with residents and business leaders to hear first-hand some of the issues which are of concern.
NSW Premier Morris Iemma said the plan by the Opposition leader could mean that more than 30 jobs were put at risk at the Murwillumbah Gun Registry alone and more could be lost from vital state services such as hospitals, schools and from the police service.
"The Opposition refuses to outline how many jobs will be axed and which North Coast communities will be hit hardest," Mr Iemma said.
He wanted Mr Debnam to tell Tweed residents exactly what the impact on them would be under his proposals.
"This plan means frontline services in hospitals, schools and police bearing the brunt of the cuts," he said.
"The Tweed community deserves to know what jobs will be cut and how many will be affected."
Yesterday, Mr Debnam was remaining tight-lipped about what would the discussed.
Mr Debnam and NSW Leader of The Nationals, Andrew Stoner, will host a community morning tea at the Twin Towns Services Club at 11am with locals having the opportunity to meet with the various shadow ministers.
In the afternoon, Shadow Cabinet members will meet with businesses and residents on a street-walk before undertaking individual meetings relevant to their portfolio areas.
And it is not just the NSW Premier who has issued a challenge to Mr Debnam.
Former Tweed mayor Warren Polglase said the NSW Opposition should use its visit to the Tweed on Tuesday to bring forward council elections.
"If the NSW Coalition wants to show it's listening to the Tweed, it must pledge to hold the next council elections in September 2007 rather than 2008 as planned by the Labor Government," Mr Polglase said.
"Shadow Cabinet is meeting at Twin Towns and this is the perfect opportunity to commit to earlier elections, just as they have already done for Liverpool Council.
"The next State election is in March 2007, giving plenty of time for an incoming Debnam Government to arrange for an early Tweed Council poll.
"Under Labor's plan, the Tweed will miss out on local democracy for three-and-a-half years this is clearly too long."