Central Coast Taskforce aims to be political parties’ conscience

Former Gosford mayor and NSW Liberal MP, Mr Chris Holstein, has been recruited by Mr John Singleton to head the Central Coast Taskforce in the lead up to the July 2 federal election.

Mr Holstein, described as a “heavy hitter”, has been given the job of “keeping the bastards honest.” “The Coast’s 300,000- plus residents will have an informed and critical take on what the major parties are and are not promising to deliver for the region in the election,” Mr Singleton said. Mr Singleton said the Coast matters to him; as a local rate payer for over 50 years, he is passionate about the region and always has been,” Mr Singleton said. “Chris, as spokesman for the Taskforce, is the Central Coast’s voice.” Mr Holstein said he would focus on what commitments the two major parties make to the Central Coast in the lead up to the July 2 poll. “We have been treated like second class citizens, all we get is a lot of rhetoric, we get no substance and we are left hanging, while the likes of Townsville and Western Sydney have run their campaigns,” Mr Holstein said. “They get the limelight, the lion’s share of funding, and the Central Coast pales into insignifi cance,” he said. “What are they promising in tangible policy, what are they promising in infrastructure and what are the benefi ts for the Central Coast?” he said. Mr Holstein has promoted and supported the Central Coast since his election to Gosford Council in 1991. Mr Holstein said he has no political affi liations and is back to where he began as an independent who brings with him considerable political experience and community engagement. On his resignation from the Liberal Party, Mr Holstein said: “I removed myself from that a while ago.” He said the Taskforce would be using “all aspects of the media” throughout the remainder of the campaign to take information from both the Labor and Liberal parties about what they are prepared to commit to the Central Coast. “We will campaign through various media outlets to let the people know what the promises are from both parties because they need to make an informed decision and we are going to help them,” he said. In true “Singo” parlance, Mr Holstein said his role would be to “cut through the bull sh__”. He said any candidate who did not know what the needs of the Central Coast were should not be in offi ce. According to Mr Holstein, Central Coast voters were also tired of federal politicians saying they could not comment on NSW or local council issues. “Quite frankly the council and the state government are always going to be looking for federal government funding to deliver infrastructure and jobs, and both parties have dipped their fi ngers in that issue when it has suited them,” Mr Holstein said. He said the Central Coast Task Force, with John Singleton’s fi nancial backing, had been “down the road” of running candidates in elections. “It is an expensive exercise and last time we got 20,000 votes and did have an impact on that government, but as a group, we have decided we are going to be the conscience so there are no accusations of impartiality.” The taskforce has had conversations with both major parties at a higher level than the local candidates in order to get solid commitments if they win government. “That doesn’t mean we don’t talk to the candidates, but we are trying to fi nd a commitment from the parties, and it has been a mixed bag so far, let me tell you,” he said. In terms of how a region of 300,000 could ever compete with Western Sydney’s one million voters, Mr Holstein said: “Give me a third of what they are giving them [Western Sydney] and I will be happy. “The Central Coast still includes key seats, but we are the worst at underestimating what we are worth,” he said. Mr Holstein said he would prefer not to see his role as taskforce chairman as that of an auctioneer, charged with getting ever-increasing spending promises from the major parties. “I don’t call it the auctioneer, I call it the conscience,” he said. “People will always have their opinions, but hopefully they will be informed opinions and at the end of the day we might have a government that has a representative here that so desperately needs to keep their seat because, guess what, they know the other party has made the same commitments to the Coast,” Mr Holstein said. “I’ve found an even bigger stick to hit the politicians with, his name is Chris Holstein,” said Mr Singleton.

Media release, Jun 14, 2016 Interview, Jun 15, 2016 Chris Holstein, Central Coast Taskforce Jackie Pearson, journalist