Crunch time on lucrative deals

A SPECIAL meeting of Tweed Shire Council tomorrow is expected to decide the winners of lucrative contracts worth approximately one million dollars to promote tourism and business investment in the Tweed.

The meeting comes after the leading tenderers made a series of presentations behind closed doors to councillors on Friday.

Earlier last week councillors decided not to rely solely on the advice of senior staff but to hear for themselves what the tendering parties were offering.

Staff had recommended further negotiations be held with two tenderers; the formerly council-funded organisations Tweed Tourism and Tweed Economic Development Corporation (TEDC).

But they also recommended one of the contracts, for statistical research, be handed to Melbourne-based company .id (informed decisions), which does work for a number of other Australian councils

That prompted a late letter to the council from TEDC chief executive officer Tom Senti who asked for the opportunity to make a presentation to the councillors.

TEDC stands to lose all its council funding, with the rest of its business promotion work taken over by Tweed Tourism because it refused to tender separately for the statistical research and promotional contracts, arguing the two were inseparable.

In the letter, Mr Senti criticised .id and warned if that company won the research contract it would “result in the creation of a job in Melbourne as distinct from the creation of a much-needed job in the Tweed”.

Mr Senti said the allocation of a tender to “an external organisation” would also be a “waste of substantial funds” spent in the development of the TEDC’s economic model and expertise.

He said it was “critical” that promotional work to attract investment to the Tweed be underpinned “by locally relevant and appropriate economic modelling data that has been generated at a local level”.

Speaking to the Tweed Daily News later Mr Senti said his organisation was optimistic councillors would give a good hearing to their arguments.

“We are fairly positive we can work through the process for the benefit of the Tweed Shire,” he said.

The extraordinary meeting of the council is during to be held in the council chambers at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre from 4.30pm tomorrow.

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