New South Wales' inaugural Cross-Border Commissioner, Steve Toms, has been appointed by the NSW Government to provide advocacy for businesses, organisations and residents in border communities.
Mr Toms said there were a range of unique issues facing people living in the State's border towns and regions and his role enabled those issues to be raised with NSW Government.
Cross-border issues include but aren't limited to:
- Different road rules and transport legislation between States, such as learner driver regulations and truck transport weight legislation
- The impact of daylight saving time differences on businesses and schools
- State tax anomalies and legislative differences
- Health, education and law enforcement service differences.
"The NSW Government wants to ensure all regional communities are treated fairly and that the complex issues facing towns and regions located between two States are given a clear and effective voice," Mr Toms said.
"As an advocate for border issues I will be travelling to affected communities and meeting with business people and residents to ensure I have a strong understanding of concerns and report directly to the Deputy Premier.
"I will also review existing cross-border governance and management arrangements to see what is being done well and what can be done better."
Mr Toms will be responsible for developing strategies to optimise service delivery for cross-border communities.
"As a current mayor located near a cross-border community, I am aware of the practical impacts that living across State boundaries bring," he said.
"I look forward to working with local communities and the State Government to help address these challenges."
Contact the Commissioner at
PO Box 1138
Suite 5, 175 Rusden Street
ARMIDALE NSW 2350
Tel: 02 6771 3284
Cross-Border Commissioner Listening Tour
During March and April 2012 the Cross-Border Commissioner met with border communities and business stakeholders as part of a comprehensive Listening Tour which included meetings in Queanbeyan, Tweed Heads, Ballina, Lismore, Legume, Tenterfield and Mingoola, Albury, Tocumwal, Moama and Wentworth, and Broken Hill.
More than 500 individual issues were raised by border communities during and since the Listening Tour across a broad range of areas including education, health, policing, transport and daylight saving. A report on the Listening Tour is available. [PDF - 2.2 MB]
2013 Business Plan
Following extensive consultation during and after the Listening Tour, the NSW Cross-Border Commissioner released a 2013 Business Plan.
The priorities for the 2013 Business Plan build on the key findings of the Listening Tour.
The Business Plan provides four key result areas and sets out the actions to be undertaken in 2013.
2013 Business Plan [PDF]
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Queensland Government Department of the Premier and Cabinet
LawAccess NSW is a free government telephone legal service that provides legal information, referrals and in some cases, advice for people who have a legal problem in NSW including people living in cross-border towns. Phone 1300 888 539
NSW Cross-Border Commissioner Steve Toms Biography
Mr Toms is NSW's inaugural Cross-Border Commissioner, the State's new advocate for border communities.
Mr Toms is well equipped to take on the challenges of the new position, with a strong background in border community life:
- He served as a Councillor with Glen Innes Severn Council from 2004 to September 2012;
- He served as Mayor with Glen Innes Severn Council from 2005 to September 2012;
- He has lived in rural and regional communities close to State borders including Casino, Bombala and Canberra;
- He has significant public service experience, including Area Manager of Glen Innes National Parks and Wildlife Group, Office of Environment and Heritage; and also with Forests NSW in various capacities.
- He has also had experience of cross-border issues dealing with wildfire emergency responses, the different planning powers between States and impacts of time differences between NSW and Queensland.
Read the Deputy Premier's announcement of Mr Toms' appointment.
- Cross-Border Commissioner Listening Tour report [PDF File - 2.2 MB]
- Business Plan - Progressive Quarterly Report - Period ending 30 September 2013 [PDF File - 72.6 KB]