NEWS BITES: 10 Tweed news stories you might have missed
1. Improving eco-tourism infrastructure in our wild places
A LAW change now means the region's hinterland, parks and reserves can install improved walking tracks and better quality signs.
The new eco-tourism infrastructure will be in the reserves of the Tweed Caldera after the NSW Environment Minister adopted amendments to the parks' plans of management.
The amendments also formally recognise the declaration of Wollumbin Aboriginal Place and the incorporation of Mount Warning National Park into Wollumbin National Park in 2006.
This will mean the development of detailed information on multi-day walking track route - Minyon Falls day-use area, Unicorn Falls day-use area and camping area, and visitor facilities in Wollumbin National Park - as part of the parks' master plans.
The Tweed Caldera incorporates Border Ranges, Goonengerry, Mebbin, Mount Jerusalem, Wollumbin and Nightcap national parks, and Limpinwood, Numinbah and Snows Gully nature reserves.
2. Tweed tradies and homebuyers win big with stamp duty cuts
IT'S a win-win situation for the Tweed's construction industry and the region's first homebuyers after changes to the stamp duty threshold.
"Under the changes the threshold above which stamp duty will be charged on new homes for first home buyers will increase from the current $650,000 to $800,000, with the concession reducing on higher values before phasing out at $1 million," State Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said.
construction industry extra support as we face the challenges of COVID-19," Mr Perrottet said.
The NSW Government will also continue to offer a $10,000 First Home Owner Grant, which is available to people buying a new first home worth no more than $600,000, or buying land and building a new first home worth no more than $750,000 in total.
3. COVID plans now compulsory for businesses
ALL businesses in the Tweed shire have been tasked by council to review and implement COVID safe plans to help stop the spread of the pandemic.
There are different plans for different industries available as well as helpful steps available online at www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19.
Plans are compulsory and may be required by the Police or a Public Health Officer doing a random business inspection.
Businesses can download a series of posters and signs to display, advising they are COVID safe.
The posters range from how to properly wash hands to physical distancing requirements.
For advice and help with COVID business plans, please contact Council's Environmental Health Officers on 02 6670 2400.
For extra business support and advice during the COVID-19 crisis, please contact our Land and Economic Development team on 02 6670 2165 or firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Emergency Dashboard wins Excellence Award
OUR region's one-stop online resource for emergency information has finished on top of the podium in recent state awards.
Tweed Shire Council has been named the winner of the 'Special Project Initiative' category in the Local Government Professionals Awards, a category for councils with populations of less than 100,000.
Xetta's business development executive Sue Calder, who announced the award, said the Emergency Dashboard demonstrated the Tweed council's understanding of how to communicate with its community.
The Tweed Emergency Dashboard was launched in December 2018 in response to the major flood that hit the Tweed in March 2017.
A specific COVID-19 Dashboard was established at the start of the current pandemic and is proving to be a critical resource for the community in staying up to date with emergency information as the COVID-19 situation unfolds.
Last week's win is the second major award for the Emergency Dashboard after it took out an RH Dougherty Award for Reporting to your Community in August 2019.
The dashboard provides real-time emergency information for Tweed residents, businesses and visitors that can be accessed on any computer or device with an internet connection at any time of day, seven days a week.
It includes the current status for weather warnings, road closures, power outages, water and sewer interruptions and Council services and facilities, along with links to many other useful resources to help with planning for an emergency and what to do afterwards.
5. Sustainable Agriculture Small Grants Program open
A CUDGEN primary producer is encouraging others to make the most of a council grant off the back of their business's success.
Michele Stephens from Farm & Co at Cudgen put her cash splash from the Tweed Shire Council's Sustainable Agriculture Small Grants Program towards incorporating chickens into market gardens to improve soil fertility and naturally reduce pests.
"We had been looking at starting this project for quite a few years and the grant gave us the chance to put our ideas into action," Ms Stephens said.
"We wanted to incorporate our Silkie Bantams within our cropping production to assist with weeding and reducing bugs. So far we have noticed fewer bugs and the amount of weeding required has reduced slightly.
"The system is easily moved by one person and takes about 20 minutes. As the system ages we are looking at modifying the design of the shed and tunnels. I have to say we are off to a great start making our chickens part of our labour force."
Local farmers can now apply for grants of up to $4000 in the new financial year to support for projects that improve the health of soils, pastures and waterways in the Tweed.
The small grants help to provide farmers with financial and technical support to improve the health and productivity of the land.
Sustainable Agriculture program leader Eli Szandala said the grants were flexible enough to allow farmers to bring forward innovative ideas and initiate good environmental projects while also often improving farm yields.
Previous projects have included the use of biological controls of pests in vegetable and turf production that have eliminated the need for chemicals.
Other beneficial projects have included fencing to establish rotational, mixed species grazing systems and upgrades to a dairy effluent management system.
To view the grant guidelines and application forms, visit tweed.nsw.gov.au/agriculture. Applications close at 4pm on Friday, August 21.
6. Regional artists on show at Gallery DownTown
TWO new solo exhibitions, including a homegrown talent, are now showing in the Tweed.
Gallery DownTown, the annex of Tweed Regional Gallery, is hosting Murwillumbah-based artist Annie Long's Fragmented Cohesion alongside Gauge by Gold Coast City artist Rae Saheli.
Ms Long's exhibition Fragmented Cohesion explores the notion of what researchers describe as 'The World Wide Web', acknowledging the communal, communicative, competitive and migratory nature of plants and microbes, played out within the structure of a forest.
"Spending time in the magnificent rainforests of the Tweed have allowed me to see how communities build resilience and how they are adapting to the fragmentation of these ancient networks," she said.
Rae Saheli's body of work based on the 'process movement' that represents both chaos and chance juxtaposed with her planning of intention or intervention.
By setting fire to materials, shooting at a surface with a shot gun, and manipulating wax upon a surface, she explores the intersection between random and controlled elements.
Gallery DownTown is continuing to present public programs digitally online while social distancing measures remain in place.
The space is an annex of the Tweed Regional Gallery located in the creative hub of M|Arts Precinct, in the heart of Murwillumbah - upstairs at 1 Brisbane St.
7. Road project boost safety in Tweed
HEAVY vehicle access to the Tumbulgum tip will be improved thanks to a joint cash injection by State and Federal Governments.
The Bartletts Road upgrade will receive $750,000 to improve the pavement and bitumen sealing.
The funding announced last month, is part of the Australian Government commitment to $191 million to build on the NSW Government's $500 million Fixing Local Roads program.
Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said this project would drive valuable jobs to the local economy.
"This is about delivering small projects that can make a big difference for local communities - projects that will drive valuable jobs in our region over the next 12 months as councils get cracking on delivery," Mr Provest said.
Projects under the program need to be delivered within two years of receiving funding.
8. Repairs finally complete to 100-year-old Tweed bridge
REPAIRS are complete and the load limit removed for the 104-year-old Korns Crossing Bridge on Numinbah Rd at Crystal Creek.
Defects were found in November last year during a routine inspection to some of the structural elements of the bridge, located about 8km west of Murwillumbah.
"A 15-tonne load limit was immediately applied as a temporary control measure, requiring heavy vehicles to use an alternative route which added up to 20 minutes travelling time," State Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said.
"Short-term repairs were carried out immediately, and the load limit was lifted to 27 tonnes, while repair material was sourced and manufactured in Newcastle."
The bridge needed to be closed to all traffic for one week in early May to allow for the installation of two 30m x 1.6m steel beams, each weighing about 16.5 tonnes, and other support structures.
The load limit was removed when the bridge reopened and in line with the NSW Timber Truss Strategy, Korns Crossing Bridge is to be removed and replaced with a new structure when funding becomes available.
Until then, the existing bridge is being maintained to ensure its ongoing safety.
9. New homes and jobs at Tweed Heads
NEW affordable housing as well as 55 construction jobs is coming to the Tweed after anew development project received the green light.
The Northern Regional Planning Panel has approved a development application to build 40 new homes on more than 2,000 square metres at 33-35 Boyd St in Tweed Heads.
The seven-story building will comprise 24 two-bedroom units and 16 one-bedroom units, to support about 50 tenants when finished.
Four of these units are designed to be accessible and inclusive for future needs of residents, Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said.
He explained the project aligns with the State Government's broader North Coast Regional Plan 2036 which seeks to grow Tweed Heads as a regional city, and better integrate the area with South East Queensland and its 'twin town' Coolangatta.
"This development by the NSW Land and Housing Corporation is also expected to support about 55 equivalent full-time construction jobs, to give the Tweed economy a timely boost," Mr Provest said.
Minister for Water, Housing and Property Melinda Pavey said the development is located 500m from the Tweed Heads CBD and includes 39 carparking and 15 bicycle-parking spaces aiming to connect tenants to a ground-level, communal open space.
"The approval of this well-designed and considered development is an important step that's helping to address ongoing housing affordability issues in the Tweed area," she said.
The project is another example of the NSW Government's ongoing investment in revitalising regional communities, by delivering high-quality, well-designed, housing.
LAHC issued a tender last month, with construction expected to begin in late 2020 and finish in mid-2022.
On completion, the building will be managed by a community housing provider.
10. Grants to help Tweed businesses and Not-for-profits return to health
TWEED'S smaller employers and charities impacted by coronavirus can apply for help from the State Government.
Applications for the Small Business Recovery Grants worth $3,000 are open until August 15.
"We had the $10,000 grants which helped hundreds of Tweed businesses and not-for- profit organisations stay afloat and from 1 July applications for the new $3000 grants will open to further help them get back on the path to success," Mr Provest said
"This cash can be used to help with running costs such as marketing and phone bills, any fit-out changes and extra staff training to create a COVIDSafe environment."
The key eligibility criteria are that the organisation must have at least one employee, be below the $900,000 payroll tax threshold and have suffered financially because of the coronavirus.
For more information, including checking eligibility and lodging an application, please visit service.nsw.gov.au