Alliance embodies unique relationship between councils

BORDERLINE: Southern Downs' CEO David Keenan, Federal member David Littleproud, state member Lawrence Springborg and mayor Tracie Dobie on the Qld side, with Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty, NSW Cross-Border Commissioner James McTavish, state member Thomas George and Tenterfield general manager Damien Connor from the NSW side.

BORDERLINE: Southern Downs' CEO David Keenan, Federal member David Littleproud, state member Lawrence Springborg and mayor Tracie Dobie on the Qld side, with Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty, NSW Cross-Border Commissioner James McTavish, state member Thomas George and Tenterfield general manager Damien Connor from the NSW side.

The feasibility of a dam at Bookookoorara/Boonoo Boonoo, wastewater treatment, highway upgrades, a road connection between Bald Rack and Girraween, motor vehicle registration, use of cross-border trades and ambulance and fire services were all on the agenda when the Cross Border Strategic Alliance met at the Wallangarra Railway Cafe on Thursday, April 20.

Although the alliance meets on a biannual basis, this gathering included state and federal members of parliament (although member for New England and deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce had other commitments). The meeting was much better for it, according to Southern Downs Regional Council mayor Tracie Dobie.

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

She was pleased that the issues raised at the local government level could be given a state and federal government perspective, and taken forward. She said a lot of local issues have wider impact, even though it’s natural for local governments to focus on their own issues.

Ms Dobie considered it somewhat liberating to be dealing with another local council that, while neighbouring her own, is in a different state and therefore not competing for Queensland funding. She felt such meetings are invaluable in dealing with issues like pest control, where the pests don’t recognise state borders.

“We can have a consistent approach,” she said.

Tenterfield general manager Damien Connor, mayor Peter Petty, federal member for Maranoa David Littleproud and Southern Downs mayor Tracie Dobie at Thursday's well-attended alliance meeting.

Tenterfield general manager Damien Connor, mayor Peter Petty, federal member for Maranoa David Littleproud and Southern Downs mayor Tracie Dobie at Thursday's well-attended alliance meeting.

Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty said the prospect of a dam in the Bookookoorara/Boonoo Boonoo area would be presented to his council at its May meeting, and he anticipated strong support.

He considered the alliance meetings a great opportunity to raise issues that need to be discussed and organised, and said the alliance between Southern Downs and Tenterfield is a unique relationship.

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

“When our state and federal members are aware of the good alliance we have, it helps them do their job.”

While the mayors and their general managers meet more regularly, the alliance endeavours to have a major get-together twice a year.

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