New mayor denies ‘party lines’ operate at council

Central Coast Mayor Lisa MatthewsCentral Coast Mayor Lisa Matthews

New Labor mayor Cr Lisa Matthews fronted her first press conference on September 24, denying the council operated on party lines despite being elected with the support of all Labor councillors and being opposed by all Liberal councillors.

“Party lines don’t happen in council and shouldn’t happen in council”, she said. “We certainly don’t deal on party lines. We certainly deal with what’s come in to council and we make decisions on whats come in, what’s happened and what information we get from staff and we make our decisions on that”.

Cr Matthews said it was frustrating when people made those assumptions and she certainly didn’t think that was how councillors dealt with matters. Cr Matthews said her two challenges were the next council election and gaining funding from her State and Federal colleagues, money that hadn’t come their way as much as she thought it should have since forming the regional council. ” My style is I’m an engager”, she said.

I believe in taking the community with me so I am looking at working with all community, Im looking at engaging all the councillors. Its just the way I operate. In a media release sent out after the meeting, Cr Matthews said council had a robust operational plan in place for the next 12 months and her goal was to keep working towards delivering that.

Priority areas residents have told us should be our focus include improving our water and sewer networks, roads, the environment, community facilities and open space and recreation, and these areas will feature heavily in our plans as we strive to create a sustainable and connected Central Coast community that we can all be proud of, she said.

In the same media release, Cr Smith said it had been a privilege to serve the people of the Central Coast as mayor over the last two years and she looked forward to continuing to serve the community as Deputy Mayor and as a Councillor for Gosford East Word.

Mayor Matthews was a councillor on the former Wyong Council, elected in 2008 and appointed deputy mayor in 2011. Prior to becoming a councillor, she worked for council as a community development worker.

She has been chair of the Status of Women Advisory Group for eight years and is a member of the traffic committee, consultative committee, sports committee and grants committee.

Cr Matthews works as a community liaison officer with the Department of Education where she provides programs that promote lifelong learning and tools to empower young people.

SOURCE: Press Conference, 24 Sep 2019 Lisa Matthews, Central Coast Council Media Release, 24 Sep 2019 Lisa Matthews, Jane Smith, Central Coast Council