Police numbers boosted for Tweed Heads

The Tweed Heads front line is getting a much needed boost, with more police officers and upgraded infrastructure announced for the area.

The NSW Government has today committed nine new police officers to the region – five for the Marine Area Command, based in Tweed, and four at the Tweed/Byron Police District.

It’s part of the NSW Liberals & Nationals $583 million investment in 1500 extra police across the State over four years.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott and Member for Tweed Geoff Provest made the announcement this morning, during a visit to the State’s most northern police command at Tweed Heads Police Station.

Mr Elliot said the additional officers are vital for the area.

“NSW is experiencing some of its lowest crime rates in 20 years but this is not the time to be complacent.

“New crime threats continue to emerge, and it is vital we adequately resource our police to prevent, disrupt and respond to crime.

“Over the next four years, every police area command and police district in NSW will receive a dedicated aged care prevention officer and child protection register coordinator,” Mr Elliott said.

Mr Provest has welcomed the investment in police to ensure community safety remains the Government’s top priority.

“I’m thrilled our community will be a safer place thanks to this NSW Government investment boosting our local police numbers.

“I am proud to welcome these men and women and wish them every success in their policing careers in Tweed,” Mr Provest said.

In addition, a new $200,000 Mobile Incident Command Vehicle was handed over to the NSW Marine Rescue.

Over the next four years, it’s understood Marine Rescue NSW will also receive an additional $37.6 million in funding to deliver 38 new boats, as well as provide new and upgraded operations bases.

Mr Provest said the modified Iveco Daily van would be used to provide critical command and control during major response operations and serve as a back-up communications system for units.

“This vehicle replaces a 26-year-old communications truck and will be an invaluable resource during extended and remote response operations,” Mr Provest said.

Another milestone for new Tweed Hospital as first sod turned

It’s now full steam ahead for the new state-of-the art Tweed Hospital with early construction work to start next week.

The first sod was turned on the Cudgen site today, marking the beginning of a three-year construction process.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest was joined by New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard for the sod-turning.

“Not only will our new hospital deliver world class healthcare services for the community closer to home, it will also bring hundreds of new jobs to the region and boost our economy,” Mr Provest said.

Mr Hazzard says the State Government has committed half-a-billion dollars for the new facility and it’s a key part of its health commitment.

“This new hospital will mean that more than 5000 patients each year will not have to travel outside of the region for life-saving treatments,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Approval for this first stage of construction is the result of two years of detailed planning with clinicians, health staff, community members and local and state government agencies.”

The Environmental Impact Statement for the site was given the green light last month with the Government approving Stage One of the development last week.

Workers will start moving in from next week to put up construction offices and other workers’ facilities, remove vegetation, build retaining walls and start work on stormwater and drainage infrastructure.

The new facility will provide more beds, a larger emergency department, enhanced surgical and medical services and an integrated cancer care service.

Construction on the new hospital is expected to be complete by the end of 2022, with the first patients to be taken from early 2023.

Image | Supplied : NSW Health

Rotting fruit to blame for ‘sewage-like smells’ across the Tweed

WHAT’S that awful smell? If you live close the Queensland-NSW border at Tweed Heads, it’s not a sewage spill that you’re smelling but rather the odour of decomposing mangrove fruit.

Council has received numerous calls from residents around Terranora Inlet (particularly the Cobaki Broadwater Village), The Anchorage and Oxley Cove reporting suspected sewer leaks causing a persistent foul odour in residential areas.

The source of the smell is fruit dropped by mangroves, which produces hydrogen sulphide gas when decomposing – the same ‘rotten egg’ gas which is given off by sewage.

Inspections of sewage pump stations and sewer mains have found the sewerage system to be operating normally and with no ammonia present (which would be a tell-tale sign of the presence of sewage in waterways).

Council’s Waterways Program Leader Tom Alletson said the common species of mangrove on the Tweed, the grey mangrove (Avicennia marina) began fruiting prolifically four to five weeks ago.

“Grey mangroves drop fruit at this time of year and there are masses of grey mangrove fruits stranded within the 25-hectare wetland to the east of places such as Cobaki Broadwater Village and other sections of estuary,” Mr Alletson said.

“The factors which cause the odours to become so strong at certain times are not clear, but would be related to tide, rainfall, the amount of fruit dropped in the season, frequency of tidal flushing and wind strength and direction.

“This is a natural process so Council is not able to control this issue or address any of the factors that lead to the odour problems,” he said.

Mr Alletson said mangroves are an extremely important part of the Tweed estuary which provide habitat for fish, crabs, prawns and numerous bird species as well as acting to stabilise the shorelines.

They are also protected under a number of NSW Government laws.

“While it is acknowledged that the smell generated in these areas is offensive, in almost all cases it is entirely natural, temporary, and one of the few downsides of living in close proximity to our beautiful waterways,” he said.

Anyone who still has concerns about sewer-like odours in their area can call Council on (02) 6670 2400.

NSW government commits $580K for Tweed River dredging

The NSW Government has confirmed it will spent $579,000 for dredging work to maintain boating access to the Tweed Heads Boat Harbour.

Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said Envirostruct Pty Ltd has been awarded the contract following a competitive tender and works will begin next month before wrapping up in September.

“I’m happy to announce up to $579,000 for dredging works which is in addition to over $2 million spent over the last two years for dredging in the lower Tweed River and Terranora Inlet to maintain navigational access in this very popular waterway.

“The work will focus on the area around the southern boat harbour in Terranora Inlet, which provides safe berthing for recreational and commercial fishing vessels and tourism operators. It also provides access to a fuel station, boat maintenance and other maritime related facilities and services.

“The scope of works has been developed in consultation with harbour users and relevant state and local government authorities. It involves removal of up to 3,000 cubic metres of contaminated sediment from the bed of the harbour area with disposal of material to a licenced waste facility,” Mr Provest said.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the funding announcement recognised the needs of coastal communities to maintain their waterways.

“This funding has been made available through the NSW Coastal Dredging Strategy and is on top of money already being spent this year through programs such as the North Coast Priority Waterways Dredging,” Ms Pavey said.

“The announcement supports the NSW Maritime Infrastructure Plan which identifies Tweed Heads and Tweed River as a priority location for future investment and highlights the importance of maintaining an accessible navigation channel.”

Tweed pub facing hefty fine over free drinks for pokie players

A pub in the Tweed has been accused of illegally supplying pokie players with free alcohol in a bid to keep them gambling for longer.

Liquor & Gaming NSW has lodged a complaint against South Tweed Tavern at Tweed Heads South which is operated by the Woolworths-owned company ALH Group.

A complaint has also been lodged against Westower Tavern at West Ballina which is also owned by ALH, with Liquor & Gaming alleging the practice at both venues was “systemic”.

It follows a state-wide investigation into ALH pubs after allegations that they were engaged in illegal practices to entice people to gamble for longer.

The investigation was launched after former staff blew the lid on alleged practices at ALH venues.

The company had been accused of compiling personal details on gamblers, including drink choices, to try and prolong their gambling sessions.

Liquor & Gaming NSW has looked into more than 50 pubs across NSW with four of those coming in for special scrutiny, including the pubs at Tweed Heads South and West Ballina.

The other two were Sydney hotels but there wasn’t enough evidence to push ahead with a formal complaint.

The investigation included covert surveillance, coercive interviews of licensees, staff and other witnesses, review of CCTV, and examination of records and systems.

The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority will now look into the complaints.

Potential penalties include formal reprimands, fines up to $110,000 and suspension or cancellation of licences.