Malcolm Brooks calls for CCRDC and JRPP to be sacked and mining abolished

Malcolm BrookesMalcolm Brooks, former Gosford Mayor and State MP. Archive image 2015

The Central Coast Regional Development Corporation (CCRDC) should be sacked, along with the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP), future plans for mining in this region abolished and the new council must maintain control of the Central Coast’s water supply, according to Friends of Gosford chairman, Mr Malcolm Brooks OAM.

According to Mr Brooks, who is a former Gosford mayor and member of parliament, the Central Coast could be headed for a mini ‘BREXIT’ or rebellion against “open borders, loss of sovereignty and bureaucratic overload” which Mr Brooks said caused the majority of English voters to favour exiting the European Union. “In a minor sense, are we heading along the same road in all spheres of government, federal, state and local?”, Mr Brooks said.

“Now that the NSW Government has forced the merger of Gosford and Wyong Council, becoming one with a population of 330,000 plus, the second largest council in NSW, it is time to take a fresh look at some of the bureaucratic and supposedly independent panels and corporations whose decisions impact on our way of life,” he said. The CCRDC is now under review by the NSW minister for planning, Mr Rob Stokes. “Minister, don’t waste time reviewing it, simply abolish it,” Mr Brooks said. “Established by the previous Labor Government, its record is abysmal. “Admittedly its charter, set by Labor, was to identify public land, rezone it, and then sell it with no regard to the impact on surrounding areas, community views or our quality of life.”

Mr Brooks said the CCRDC’s record included the approval of a regional performing arts centre on Gosford City Park, also the site of the Centenary of ANZAC poppy fi eld. “The poppy fi eld site should remain linked to ANZAC Memorial Park,” he said. “The previous CCRDC disaster was the proposal for fi ve 10-storey fi nger wharves along the Broadwater. “Luckily, the then minister, Mr Brad Hazzard, squashed that proposal.” Mr Brooks said the rezoning of the old Gosford Primary School site for commercial and high rise residential development was also the responsibility of the CCRDC. “In the Gosford City Centre Master Plan, the site was originally zoned as a cultural precinct after much public comment. “Who changed the zoning to allow an ATO and state government offi ce complex? “The CCRDC did with state government approval. “The communitybusiness representation is heavily weighted in favour of the business and landowners in the CBD. “Indeed, community concerns are overlooked or dismissed.

“A CCRDC bulletin states that they were thrilled with the ATO offi ce decision. “Well the community is not and it is time for the board to go.” Mr Brooks said he believed the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) would no longer be needed when the new council was elected in September 2017. “Those elected must have the responsibility for their decisions on all development, small and large, otherwise why elect them? “Sensitive areas and developments should not be shifted sideways to some bureaucratic panel (supposedly independent) for a decision. “In Aussie language, it’s called passing the buck,” Mr Brooks said. “The merged Central Coast Council now covers our water catchment area, and we the residents must be the controlling authority.

“We cannot draw water from Sydney, and in terms of during a drought like the 1990s, the Hunter Water Board with its expanding population would be unable to divert supply to our expanding area. “So ownership, control, and management of our water must remain under local control by a Central Coast Water Board, made up of council representatives, local community and business leaders.” As for mining in the new Central Coast local government area, Mr Brooks said: “An amended DA has been submitted by the South Korean company for the extension of the Wallarah 2 Coalmine.

“This is another development that is decided by an unelected bureaucrat panel. “Minister for resources, Mr Andrew Roberts, should call this DA in and refuse the application. “We have a diverse area from the mountains to the sea. “The Central Coast has its own unpolluted water catchment area. “It cannot rely on Sydney or the Hunter for its water supply. “It has prime agriculture land which brings in $150 million a year. “This should be boldly stated and protected by showing all land west of the M1 reserved for agriculture and preservation of our water supply. “From the eastern side of the M1 to the sea, it is extensively urbanised. “In the Central Coast Regional Strategy plan, the mining map on page 46 should be deleted and all mining leases should be revoked. “No mining should be permitted within prime agricultural land and water catchment areas. “The Central Coast is a prime example of both. “As human beings, we need food and water, without that, we don’t exist. “I am not sure merging Gosford and Wyong Councils is the way ahead but the state government has enforced the merger. “To the state government I say, stay out of our way and let Mr Ian Reynolds (administrator) and Mr Rob Noble (CEO) plan and set a community inspired course for our future that will enhance our quality of life. “It is a big task and they will need community support and wisdom in their endeavours.”

Media release, Jun 26, 2016 Malcolm Brooks OAM, Friends of Gosford