8 December 2016
Tweed Shire Council is officially Fit for the Future
Tweed Shire Council has received advice from the Minister for Local Government that it is officially ‘Fit for the Future’, after meeting the key NSW Government benchmarks, following a re-assessment process.
Fit for Future is the NSW Government’s process for modernising local government to ensure all councils across the State have the capacity to provide the services and infrastructure their communities need into the future.
Council met several of benchmarks in the original assessment in June last year and was considered by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to have the scale and capacity of a Fit for the Future Council.
However, there were a number of financial benchmarks Council did not meet in the original assessment, including the important criteria of ‘Operating Performance Ratio’. This has now been met through the latest financial statements which include updated re-valuation data on Council’s assets which has had positive impact on Council’s bottomline.
In a letter to Council, Minister Paul Toole said the Office of Local Government had reassessed Tweed’s proposal against the Financial Sustainability criteria and associated benchmarks and had found Tweed Shire Council to be “fit”.
“I trust that Council will continue to implement strategies which ensure it remains financially sustainable and increases its capability and capacity to deliver services and infrastructure into the future,” Mr Toole said.
Mayor of Tweed, Councillor Katie Milne, welcomed the Minister’s decision.
“This is fantastic news and means that the prospect of amalgamation is even less likely and would not be as a consequence of our financial position,” Cr Milne said.
“This is a really important milestone and a significant achievement. And thankfully we have not had to inflict our community with any more rate rises above the CPI, as many other councils are having to propose to satisfy the government.
“High growth councils such as ours have found it very difficult to meet the government's particular model of financial sustainability criteria.
“I am very pleased that Council was actually able to achieve a significant surplus for the first time ever of $8 million,” she said.
Council’s General Manager, Troy Green said: “This announcement is really good news for the Tweed as it has been independently assessed that we are in a financially sustainable position. Council’s ongoing job is to now maintain this position through careful long-term financial planning.
“The Tweed the Future is Ours project is part of this long term planning. We’re currently assessing some 1800 responses to a recent major survey which asked residents to rate our services in importance, tell us how satisfied they are with the delivery of the services and what they think the priorities should be for the future.
“Members of Council’s staff-based Community Engagement Network have been out and about at community events over the past year, talking to hundreds of people about Council’s 52 services,” he said.
“This information is vital to the formulation of the draft Community Strategic Plan 2017-2027 - Council’s blueprint for delivery on the community’s vision - which will go out on exhibition for public comment in the New Year.
“Though this next round of engagement, members of the community will once again get to tell us their vision for the future and what the priorities should be for Council for the next 10 years,” he said.
The Minister’s full assessment, as well as the original Tweed Shire Council submission and reassessment proposal, are available at www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/FitForTheFuture
7 December 2016
Top marks for Community College at access awards
2016 Access and Inclusion Award winners media release
Murwillumbah Community College was a big winner at the fourth annual Tweed Shire Access and Inclusion Awards, claiming overall honours and two of the category prizes.
The adult and community education organisation received the new Faye Druett Award for Advocacy and the Community category, on its way to receiving the overall Tweed Shire Access and Inclusion Award. This year’s award recipients and all the nominees were announced at a ceremony at Twin Towns Services Club last week.
Murwillumbah Community College assists a number of people with additional learning needs and was nominated by a Cert IV in Training and Assessment student whose previous attempts at study had been unsuccessful because he didn’t have access to the support he needed.
The 30-year-old man is blind and deaf – and uses a cochlear implant to hear – but said the support provided by the college, and the self-belief that came as a result, had made the difference.
“(It) helps to change the broader community’s attitude about what people with a disability can achieve, particularly in regard to education and employment,” his nomination says.
Murwillumbah Community College Manager Barbara Carroll said the organisation had a simple attitude that each person who walked through their doors brought both challenges and incredible strengths.
“We try to work with each person to reduce their challenges and barriers and offer them an environment to flourish and, through their strengths, achieve their goals,” Ms Carroll said.
She said their challenges varied from physical, intellectual or learning difficulties to a long break from education or massive family commitments.
“But in parallel to those challenges there is incredible resilience, perseverance and motivation. We just try to provide the best environment and support and it’s very rewarding work,” she said.
Mayor of Tweed, Councillor Katie Milne, said a record number of nominations had been received for this year’s awards, recognising groups and individuals who were giving dignity and response to those who needed it most.
“Everyone in our community shares the responsibility to improve access and inclusion and this is particularly important for businesses and other organisations that provide services to the public,” she said.
Other 2016 prize recipients:
Individual: Winner – Glen Bowe (Positive Energy), Achievement Certificates – Nathan Johnston, Sandy Rogers.
Sport and Leisure: Winner – Peter Comerford (Tweed Sea Sports, Achievement Certificates – Fingal Rovers Surf Life Saving Club, Juraki.
Education: Winner – Jeff Robinson (Principal, Uki Public School), Achievement Certificate – Brendan Ryan (Principal, Mt St Patrick Primary School).
Community: Winner – Murwillumbah Community College, Achievement Certificates – Kids in Need, Tweed Patch Workers
Business: Winner – National Australia Bank Murwillumbah, Achievement Certificates – Suzanne Grae Tweed Heads, Cools Swim School
Belonging Award: Winner – Billabong Swim School
Visit www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/AccessInclusionAwards to see all the nominees, the presentation by the keynote speaker, Paralympic gold medallist Tracy Barrell, and other details.
7 December 2016
The botanical becomes fantasy
Local artist Susan Kinneally will display her first solo exhibition, Becoming, at Tweed Regional Gallery from 9 December 2016, showcasing a colourful series of watercolours inspired by her love of botany.
“Susan’s work will be showcased under the Gallery’s Community Access Exhibitions Program (CAEP), which caters specifically to regional artists,” Gallery Director Susi Muddiman said.
“This popular program provides an opportunity for artists who reside in the Tweed, Kyogle, Lismore, Ballina, Byron, Scenic Rim or Gold Coast City shires to exhibit their work in a world class gallery environment. Since the Gallery’s relocation to Mistral Road, Murwillumbah in 2004, we have hosted over 100 exhibitions under the CAEP, ranging from exhibitions by professionally experienced artists to those at the very beginning of their creative career.”
For 30 years, Kinneally practised as a senior art teacher at a Melbourne secondary school, teaching painting and drawing, ceramics, printmaking, set design and multi-media, among other art related subjects. She was also the Art Faculty Coordinator and edited the school magazine.
Kinneally said: “I loved the demands of teaching, which kept me busy while bringing up my children amid the usual domestic joys and traumas of modern life. Despite this busy life with work and family, I always found time to produce my own artwork. Since arriving in the Northern Rivers in 2013, I have had the time and opportunity to focus on my ambition to become an artist whose work is exhibited and appreciated.
“My creative explorations began with a course in botanical illustration. I love working with intricate detail, line and the transparency and sensitivity of watercolour. However, I found the discipline of describing botanical features tedious. My drawings started to rebel. I decided to invent my own botanical world where I merge fantasy and fairy stories with sci-fi and wild theories of quantum physics. The known kingdoms of flora and fauna meld with fantastical creatures – one does not see at first the wrapping of a mermaid’s tail around the stem of an Iris.
“All the images on display in Becoming use the technique of stippling, a laborious method I first encountered while studying botanical illustration. Producing these images has been a long process involving much exploratory drawing. I first make a number of botanical studies, then start pushing and pulling to bring the image to life. Once the image has been drawn onto paper, I wash in the watercolour and build up the layers of colour, tone and pattern.”
Becoming will be officially opened on Saturday 10 December at 6pm (for 6.30pm) DST by Kinneally’s long-time friend Karen MacDonald, and will be on display until 26 February 2017.
On Sunday 5 February 2017 from 1-3pm DST, visitors will be able to engage with the artist in the Gallery Foyer as she works on preparatory botanical sketches. A folio of her work and resource materials will be available for visitors to browse.
6 December 2016
Mayoral Christmas New Year Appeal begins
Mayor of Tweed, Councillor Katie Milne, has launched the Mayoral Christmas/New Year Appeal, with her chosen charities: Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers and homeless support organisation, You Have a Friend.
“Last year’s appeal was a great success and as we’re extending this appeal into the New Year to the end of January, I’m sure this year’s will be even better,” Cr Milne said.
“While we celebrate this joyous time with family and friends our hearts go out to those who are struggling or alone,” Cr Milne said.
“I heard some shocking statistics just recently that by the age of 65, 68 per cent of us will be flat broke, 50 per cent will have a mental illness and 82 per cent will have a chronic illness. This just goes to show that any one of us could find ourselves in a difficult position through no fault of our own.
“Our wildlife needs our compassion too. One of the greatest losers from our population growth is the unintended consequences on our innocent wildlife. The Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers do an incredible job answering thousands of calls each year, often late into the night, to rescue sick and injured animals, all on a volunteer basis and largely at their own expense."
Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers are seeking: towels (old or new), pillow cases, hot water bottles, old beanies and puppy training pads.
You Have a Friend has requested donations of tinned goods and toiletries.
Items can be dropped off to Council offices in Tumbulgum Road, Murwillumbah or Brett Street, Tweed Heads.
Anyone wishing to make monetary donations is asked to contact the agencies directly:
Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers - www.tvwc.org.au/donate.php or call (02) 6672 4789
You Have a Friend - www.youhaveafriend.com.au/sponsorship or call (07) 5524 2008.
6 December 2016
Three cheers for our volunteers
The benefits of volunteering can flow both ways, according to Tweed Regional Museum volunteer Ross Johnson.
Ross is part of a global network of volunteers who give their time to a diversity of organisations and projects. International Volunteer Day, held on 5 December each year, acknowledges the contributions made by community champions like Ross, often in largely anonymous roles.
While the efforts of volunteers contribute enormously to the Tweed Shire community, Ross says volunteering is also valuable for his personal wellbeing.
“I volunteer to keep my interest up in things and to keep me mentally fit,” according to Ross, who has been helping with the Tweed Regional Museum, Tweed Heads Historical Society branch for 15 years.
Ross contributes to the Front-of-House roster at the Museum and is a great source of local knowledge. He has donated many items to the collection and provided content for exhibitions. He is hugely supportive of the Museum and educating the community about Tweed history.
"I certainly have no plans to stop volunteering,” he said.
“Both my family and my wife’s family have always done a lot to assist the community and that is how I was brought up.”
Ross also volunteers for other organisations in Tweed Shire, including playing music at the Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads Anglican churches, Murwillumbah Festival of Performing Arts and Kingscliff Returned Services League.
Museum Director Judy Kean said without its volunteers the Museum “really could not have opened the doors and done as well as we have”.
“The Museum has 100 volunteers who assist staff at the Museum in Murwillumbah and at the Tweed Heads and Uki branches,” she said.
“Tweed Regional Museum is deeply grateful for the contribution of our volunteers and we invite the community to help us applaud their wonderful efforts.”
6 December 2016
Painting our PERFORMANCE
An exhibition of new work by one of Australia’s ‘most collectable artists’, Abbey McColloch’s PERFORMANCE, will feature at Tweed Regional Gallery from 9 December 2016 – 26 February 2017.
Art Collector magazine named McCulloch as one of ‘Australia’s 50 most Collectable Artists' in 2009, 2010 and 2011. McCulloch’s success is demonstrated by her selection as a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 2007, 2009 and 2013 for her portraits of actresses Nell, Toni Collette and Naomi Watts. Her works featured in a solo exhibition at Art Stage Singapore in 2014, and last year she was invited by iconic UK photographer Nick Knight to cover Paris Fashion Week, with her drawings featured on his fashion website SHOWstudio.
McCulloch is clearly one of Australia’s most recognisable contemporary figurative painters. In her exhibition catalogue essay, Dr Laini Burton writes: “Like bursts from a camera shutter, the series of works on display in PERFORMANCE capture not only the most consciously posed and poised bodies, but those moments in between … where gestures belie the vivacious, confident woman caught only a millisecond before. Somehow, we all know one of these fabulous creatures. She oozes with self-possession, acuity and style. She has a kind of élan, or je ne sais quoi that can be neither bought or photoshopped … In this moment, McCulloch’s aim comes into sharp relief … She asks simply, ‘What do you want from her?’ And in asking this question, McCulloch characterises the expectations we place on others and ourselves in the performance of everyday life.”
The artist explains: “The works in PERFORMANCE are about the ways that we perform for others – and ourselves. They are about our fictional selves revealing more about us and how our veneer can be more telling. I asked some friends to sit for me but I wasn’t particularly interested in capturing their likeness, I just wanted to play around with capturing something in their expression that showed them being self-aware. In each of these images I am trying to capture that strange moment where you realise that you are being watched by yourself. The person that you are trying to be has been caught out by the person you are. It’s like an out-of-body thing.”
Everyone is invited to join the artist at the official opening of PERFORMANCE by Gold Coast City Gallery Director Tracy Cooper-Lavery at 6pm (for 6.30pm) DST on Saturday 10 December 2016.
At 2pm DST on Sunday 19 February 201, all are welcome to attend a Q&A session between the artist and Dr Laini Burton, Lecturer, Design, Head of Studio Art and Honours, Queensland College of Art, Gold Coast on topics including the artist’s life, female representation, self and identity.
Abbey McCulloch is represented by This Is No Fantasy, Melbourne and Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane.
6 December 2016
Tumbulgum is out of this world for opera
Tumbulgum Hall will be transformed into an other-worldly place for two performances of an Opera Queensland and Arts Northern Rivers production on 16 and 17 December.
An all-local cast has been announced for the production, Tumbulgum and the Countdown to Midnight at the First Supper between Now and Forever, which is being staged as part of the If These Halls Could Talk project.
Eight singers from the Northern Rivers region, with a range of professional experience, were chosen from an open audition process.
Tickets are selling quickly, with Friday night already sold out and only a limited number of seats still available for the Saturday night show.
Audiences will be taken on a musical journey into the next world by a tale based on stories from the Tumbulgum Hall and the surrounding community.
A mix of musical styles, from sea shanties and folk music to traditional opera and original songs from local artists, are used to tell the story about a terrible collision on the river and the souls of those who died.
Each soul waits on the riverbank to find out who will be taken into the afterlife, waiting for the Ferryman to decide.
The production will feature at Tumbulgum Hall at 7.30pm on each night and will conclude the If These Halls Could Talk project, a region-wide season of contemporary arts events held in seven community halls from 17 September – 17 December.
Tickets can be booked at ifthesehallscouldtalk.com.au or by phoning (02) 6628 8120.
Tweed Shire Council is a member of Arts Northern Rivers, which has collaborated with Opera Queensland to create If These Halls Could Talk through funding from the Arts NSW Regional Partnership.
5 December 2016
‘The Ghost who walks’ seen in Murwillumbah
He was the world’s first masked superhero to feature in comics and continues to be the most popular in the genre despite, or possibly because of, his absence of super powers.
Now The Phantom comic book character has inspired an art show for the truly young at heart, a nostalgic, surprising and fun exhibition that celebrates the evolution of a unique heroic character over the past 80 years.
The Phantom Art Show is on display at Tweed Regional Gallery from 9 December 2016 to 26 February 2017, and proves that childhood obsessions can be hard to shake!
More than 40 artists have contributed their various interpretations of the ‘Ghost Who Walks’, through a variety of media and styles. Participating artists include Charles Blackman, Kevin Connor, Elisabeth Cummings, Reg Mombassa, Euan Macleod, Paul Ryan, Garry Shead and Greg Weight.
When Lee Falk created The Phantom in 1936 he was the first costumed ‘superhero’, followed soon after by Superman (1938) and Batman (1939). The same year that the ‘Ghost Who Walks’ first walked, Gone with the Wind was published, the Queen Mary set sail on her maiden voyage, German boxer Max Schmeling defeated African American Joe Louis, Hitler presided over the opening of the Berlin Olympics and the US was just beginning to emerge from the Great Depression.
According to exhibition co-curators Peter Kingston and Dietmar Lederwasch: “This exhibition is dedicated to the first two Phantom artists, Ray Moore and Wilson McCoy. Us Phantom artists grew up before the digital age, when comics were king: Superman, Batman, Nancy and Sluggo, The Little King, Captain Marvel … but none resonate like the Phantom. Youthful obsessions with him linger, taking root in impressionable consciousness and refusing to budge.”
In an essay written for the exhibition catalogue, Matthew Holle writes: “Why The Phantom? Why not Superman? Or Batman? Why does a comic book character created prior to World War II still resonate strongly with so many generations nearly 80 years later? Is the appeal just an antipodean anomaly or something more? Could any other fictional comic book character so easily attract so many artists to reinterpret his image in an exhibition?”
Everyone is invited to an official opening of the exhibition at Tweed Regional Gallery by Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO at 6pm (for 6.30pm) DST on Saturday 10 December 2016. Join special guest The Phantom (and his true love Diana Palmer) for this celebration.
On Sunday 11 December at 11am DST, Curator and artist Peter Kingston will share his thoughts during a talk titled The Phantom – The Enigma of the Ghost Who Walks. All are welcome to join the discussion and play the giant Phantom Snakes and Ladders game.
As a special treat, the Gallery will host Phantom Fridays for Families from 10.30am – noon DST on 13 and 20 January 2017. Join a special kid’s tour through the exhibition. Use your superhero powers to investigate the artworks closely, flick through our comics and make Phantom-inspired art. Feel free to wear your superhero costume or play dress up with our Phantom suits!
1 December 2016
Special TRAC hours for Christmas
TRAC Christmas hours media release
Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre will have special opening hours for its three facilities during the Christmas and New Year period.
30 November 2016
Libraries closing for festive period
Tweed Shire libraries will be closed to the public during the festive period, from noon on Christmas Eve.
The Kingscliff and Murwillumbah libraries will reopen on Tuesday 3 January at 9am and will have new opening hours in 2017.
Murwillumbah Library will be open 9am to 6pm on weekdays, with an extended closing time on Thursdays at 7pm.
Kingscliff will operate from 9am to 5pm on weekdays, and will stay open an extra hour on Wednesdays until 6pm.
Both will be open from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.
Tweed Heads Library is set for a major upgrade from the start of 2017 and details of the resumption of library services at Tweed Heads in the New Year will be announced later this month following a report to Council on 15 December. Information about the continuation of library services during the Tweed Heads Library upgrade will also be released at this time.
After-hours return chutes will be available at the Murwillumbah, Kingscliff and Tweed Heads libraries throughout the festive period closures.