The Southern Downs Regional Council and Tenterfield Shire Council attended an alliance meeting held at the Wallangarra Railway Station on Friday, 20 April.

Their innovative approach to regional government discussions enables the progressive use of one unified council voice. All cross-border issues are discussed in full and on a regular basis, which ensures a fast and clear legal process.

New South Wales Cross-Border Commissioner James McTavish has commended the professional relationship between the two councils, suggesting that the formal strategic alliance is a model that could be used in other cross-border regions.

“It’s pleasing to see that the relationship here between

Southern Downs and Tenterfield is quite mature and that they’re considering issues surrounding the whole regional community rather than ‘us versus them’,” stated McTavish.

McTavish also feels that there is an enormous opportunity in these meetings for regional people and areas to get their voices heard by key cities like Sydney and Brisbane.

Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie believes that the meeting was a positive experience that covered a wide range of topics including economic development, tourism, water and wastewater, policing and emergency services, infrastructure and service delivery.

“It is pleasing that the issues raised at the local government level could be given a state and federal government perspective, and taken forward.

A lot of action will come out of yesterday’s meeting,” she said.

There have been considerable improvements in these areas since the last alliance meeting in October 2015. The need for a stronger and more formalised approach by the Queensland and New South Wales governments to collaborate on cross-border matters was a highlighted issue.

Tenterfield Mayor Peter Petty is proud of their established relationship with Southern Downs and the resulting improvements made to their regional communities and government ties.

“I would list this alliance as one of the best things we’ve ever done,” stated Petty.