New Commissioner to give border communities a fair go

16 February 2012

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services Andrew Stoner has today announced the appointment of Steve Toms as the State’s first Cross Border Commissioner.

Mr Toms has wide experience dealing with issues affecting rural and regional communities as a Land Manager working for NSW Parks and Wildlife Service and Forests NSW, and as a Councillor and Mayor for the Glen Innes Severn Council.

"Border communities in NSW have, for the first time in our State’s history, an advocate solely focused on their very unique issues," Mr Stoner said.

"The position of NSW Cross Border Commissioner has been created in direct response to concerns raised by Members of Parliament representing NSW border regions, and this appointment demonstrates our commitment to tackling these issues.

"Steve Toms brings significant experience to this inaugural appointment, and I expect him to play a key role in strengthening cross border arrangements and improving services affected by the location of border communities.

"Mr Toms takes up the role on March 12 and will be meeting with border communities within his first month to hear firsthand how he can best advocate on their behalf.

"Every day those living in communities bordering other States face a range of location specific disadvantages including unnecessary red tape in transport, health and education.

"As NSW Cross Border Commissioner, Steve Toms will ensure these communities are treated fairly and given a clear and effective chance to voice the issues that affect them."

Steve Toms has been appointed initially for a two-year term and as NSW Cross Border Commissioner will:

  • provide an advocate for the concerns of cross-border communities;
  • review existing cross-border governance & management arrangements; and
  • develop strategies to optimise the delivery of services to these communities.

The role will be hosted within NSW Trade & Investment and work closely with border communities and stakeholders. The Cross Border Commissioner will provide specialist advice to the Deputy Premier, the NSW Government and the Director General of NSW Trade & Investment.