Regional NSW lockdown extension

26 August 21

Dear Premier,

I write in relation to your announcement this morning that the lockdown of Regional NSW would be extended until Friday 10 September. This announcement is a bitter blow for many in our community.

Despite what the media might say, the people of Northern NSW are willing to do their part and protect themselves and their loved ones. Unfortunately, the NSW Government is not providing the support necessary to allow this to happen.

We have seen vaccines diverted from Regional NSW despite our communities being some of those most at risk and ill-equipped to deal with the impact of COVID-19.

We have seen your Government refuse to resource a border checkpoint in the Northern Rivers despite the anxiety, stress, and burden this places on our border towns.

What we haven’t seen is the financial support that allows our businesses to survive, our people to stay employed, and our communities to stay at home.

We have been told that ‘we are all in this together’, but for the people of Regional NSW all we have shared in is the suffering.

Give our community the financial support to stay at home and give us access to vaccinations.


Tamara Smith MP

Member for Ballina

National Parks in NSW – trophy cabinets of LNP

Tamara Smith MP, Member for Ballina, has welcomed the news that National Parks and Wildlife Service has acquired 37 hectares of land adjoining the Billinudgel Nature Reserve.

This land will be added to Billinudgel Nature reserve hence improving the resilience of the rainforest and coastal heathland plant communities. The addition will also consolidate vegetation links between Billinudgel Nature Reserve, the Tweed Valley Way and the Pacific Highway.

“I welcome any efforts to protect habitat for threatened flora and fauna species in our region. This move will protect habitat such as the Common Blossom-bat, Comb-crested Jacana and Davidson’s Plum, as well as the threatened Tweed koala,” Ms Smith said.

“Given that we live in one of the most biodiversity rich areas of the world, this addition to our National Park estate and further protection for our natural heritage is very welcome.

“An addition of 37 hectares of National Park estate in our region is not insignificant but as long as the Minister for the Environment, Matt Kean, insists on logging native forests, allowing core koala habitat to be destroyed en masse on rural land across the state and supporting new coal, National Parks are simply trophy cabinets.

“It is definitely a case of the left hand at odds with the right hand when it comes to the management of the environment by the Liberals and Nationals in NSW.  On the one hand the Minister says he wants to double koala populations, expand National Parks and end the expansion of coal mining in the State. On the other hand he is colluding with the Nationals and the right wing of his party to strip protections for koalas on rural land, log our native forests and expand coal mining.

“The employment of Malcolm Turnbull to oversee a complete transition to renewables and carbon neutrality in NSW was life-affirming. Sacking him a week later because the Murdoch press equates action on climate change with the end of capitalism was sickening to watch,” Ms Smith said.

 “Political responses to Covid-19 have shown us a different way of doing politics – a way that has allowed the good of the whole to trump the vested interests of the few. We must demand this approach when it comes to slowing global warming and protecting our endangered species.”

Member for Ballina welcomes closure of South Ballina Beach to 4WDs

Media Release - 25 March 2021

The Member for Ballina has welcomed the decision by NSW Parks and Wildlife Service, Crown Lands, Ballina Shire Council and Richmond Valley Council to close the 30km stretch of coast between South Ballina and Evans Head to 4WD’s and other vehicles.

Ms Smith said, “I applaud the multi-agency decision to restrict vehicles on South Ballina Beach and thank all of the residents and community members that have worked with my office over the last 6 years to advocate for better public safety and protection of Aboriginal Heritage and endangered species severely impacted by ever increasing vehicle traffic. “

$300,000 for Ballina Electorate announced through the Community Building Partnership Program

Media Release - 23 November 2020

Tamara Smith MP, Member for Ballina, today announced $300,000 in funding for a total of 19 community projects through the 2020 Community Building Partnership Program.

“These funds will deliver much-needed improvements to local facilities in the Byron Shire across charities and small community organisations who through Covid-19 have struggled to undertake their usual fundraising activities,” Ms Smith said.

“This is fantastic news for the residents of Byron and Ballina shires. This grassroots funding will directly help to create a more vibrant and inclusive local community with positive social, environmental and recreational outcomes.

 “I congratulate all of the organisations that were successful in their application and look forward to seeing how these projects make a real difference to our community.” Ms Smith said.

Applications for the 2021 Program open in early 2021.

For more information about the NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership Program, visit t


Time is up for the visitor 4WD's on South Ballina beaches

Media Release - 13 October 2020

Tamara Smith MP is calling on Ballina Shire Council to immediately implement locals only Permits for 4WD access on all South Ballina Beaches. The Richmond police share her concern about public safety on the beach given the vast number of vehicles monitored during Operation Thor over the October long weekend and believe it is only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt.

Ms Smith said, “Time is up for the status quo and it is extremely disappointing that Crown Land and Ballina Shire Council have been unable to come up with a long term solution to a severe public safety issue that has been highlighted repeatedly by me, residents, Jali Land Council, environmentalists and the broader community for a number of years.”

“I will not stand by and wait for somebody to be hurt before action is taken and I am calling on Ballina Shire Council to introduce a permit system immediately for locals and Aboriginal members of our community only. Ideally, Crown Land would have resolved this by now but they have not and as it is a residential safety issue primarily I think that Council needs to step up and be the responsible adult in this situation.” said Ms Smith.

Can’t have it both ways on grants

Media Release - 22 September 2020

With the unfolding State Government council grants scandal being examined by a Parliamentary Committee, locally communities are focussed on ensuring that councils get a fair share. It starts by ensuring the Government can’t pick and choose when local MPs sit on assessment panels, and exclude non-Government MPs.

However the current Government policy is that the local MP is excluded from the process if that local MP was a non-Government MP, thereby intentionally excluding local expertise to guide the allocation of grants.

The data shows that where they did ship in a government MP that they were of no special assistance to the local community. In fact where the local Government MP was included the councils obtained around $150 per resident but when they parachuted in a non-local Government MP the funding slid to $56 per resident on average.

Greens MP for Ballina Tamara Smith said:

“Excluding local MPs based on their political colours is completely inappropriate and makes a mockery of the system’s claim to rely on local knowledge.

“If local MPs are involved for their expertise and knowledge of the needs of the local community, then it shouldn’t matter what party they belong to,” Ms Smith said.

Exemptions for essential frontline workers is a matter of life and death.

Media Release - 13 August 2020

Tamara Smith MP Member for Ballina is calling for border exemptions for essential frontline workers traveling between NSW and the QLD border.

“The health implications of the border closure as it stands for our Northern Rivers communities is potentially fatal because hundreds of doctors are unable to staff our emergency departments, our medical centres and assist emergency services like the Westpac helicopter rescue service.” Ms Smith said.

Saving Ballina's Koalas

KOALA rescuer Maria Matthes will be able to save more wildlife while keeping herself safe thanks to a new thermal imaging camera.

The $20,000 thermal equipment was donated by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), funded by furniture company, via Ballina MP Tamara Smith.

Ms Matthes, who has a member of Friends of the Koala for five years, remembered the fires that affected the area on October 16, 2019.

"I saw two koalas up in a tree after the fire went through, and the RFS sprayed the trees so we could rescue the animals, but it was dangerous work," she said.

Media Release: Member for Ballina announces $17k in funding for Historical Society

Pictured: Tamara Smith MP, Member for Ballina and Ian Kirkland, President, Alstonville Plateau Historical Society

Tamara Smith MP announces $17K in funding for Alstonville Historical Society

Tamara Smith MP, Member for Ballina announces $17,280 in funding through the Community Building Partnership for the Alstonville Plateau Historical Society.

NSW Government Independent Bushfire Inquiry

The NSW Government commissioned an independent expert inquiry into the 2019-20 bushfire season to provide input to NSW ahead of the next bushfire season.

The Inquiry welcomed submissions from bushfire-affected residents, emergency and support personnel, organisations and the general public. Everyone was encouraged to share their experience and tell their story to inform the Inquiry’s work.

As NSW Greens Spokesperson for Regional Communities I made a submission on behalf of the NSW Greens. View a copy of my submission here

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