Democracy doesn’t equal demerger

Central Coast Council Photo: Justin StanleyCentral Coast Council Photo: Justin Stanley

Forum –

What does the Central Coast Friends of Democracy hope to achieve by its demerger campaign (“Demerger Petition launched” advertisement, CCN 303)?

It is fatuous to argue that two municipalities are more democratic than one.

Everyone votes in exactly the same way, regardless of municipal boundaries, and everyone has the same rights, whatever the name of your city, so this is simple sophistry.

If the claim is that a large municipality is undemocratic, it is worth pointing out that Central Coast is not even the biggest municipality in NSW, let alone in Australia, and I challenge proponents of the petition to demonstrate that there is a noticeable diminution in human rights in, say, Blacktown, as opposed to smaller LGAs.

Would anyone be bold enough to say that Gosford Council was more democratically run than Central Coast Council: my recollection is that Gosford Council was noted for its high-handed behaviour, and I see little value in reverting to that situation.

As for the nonsense that all our financial woes are related to the amalgamation, this is just misdirection of the crassest kind and suggests that Central Coast Friends of Democracy is thrashing around desperately for some justification of its move and will say anything to attract attention.

All the analysis that has been undertaken demonstrates clearly that the amalgamation had nothing to do with the gross mismanagement of our affairs.

Our fiscal difficulties are directly related to the drongos that we elected to Council: there is nobody to blame but the ratepayers of Central Coast, and, if anybody thinks that de-amalgamation is going to change voting habits, it can only be the triumph of self-delusion over historical evidence.

All this is apart from the manifest practical difficulty of unscrambling the present arrangement.

How will the debt burden be split up on demerger?

Ratepayers of ex-Wyong have benefited notably in the merger, as ex-Gosford ratepayers have borne the brunt of rate-equalization over the past three years.

It would not be unreasonable to suggest that new-Wyong ratepayers should reimburse new-Gosford ratepayers for those extra payments that have been contributed: will this affect enthusiasm for demerger?

How will staff be re-allocated between two new administrations: as a Gosford resident, I’d be quite happy to let Wyong have the present CEO and his inflated salary.

Perhaps, CCFD might address some of these questions, instead of sweeping the difficulties under the carpet as unimportant.

Nobody would argue that the amalgamation was well done.

Anyone with half a brain (not politicians, of course) can see that Wyong should have been amalgamated with Lake Macquarie.

However, we have survived worse blunders by the Boundaries Commission, and we can make the best of it or we can whine for a return of the good old days that never were.

Let us focus on getting rid of our Administrator Mark 3 as soon as possible and returning to normality.

Against all the evidence, I still hope that an elected Council can manage our affairs competently, as long as we don’t allow any of the previous councillors anywhere near a ballot box.

Email, Aug 2
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy

4 Comments on "Democracy doesn’t equal demerger"

  1. Jim Sprohar | August 9, 2021 at 10:23 am |

    What extra payments?
    Rates were frozen for 4 years by the State Govt after the merger.
    Wyong has been paying significantly more rates than Gosford has, Its only this 21/22 year the Gosford rates have been equalised.
    Not sure where you get the “Gosford has been paying more” from? As they’ve been paying less.

  2. Terry Kesby | August 9, 2021 at 12:54 pm |

    Rate equalization is about ex Gosford residents having to pay the same rates ex Wyong residents have been paying for the last 6 years. That’s why the difference is 15 to 18%.
    The councilors are not the only ones at fault in this. The CEO,CFO,the auditors and the state government department all failed in their duty.
    Is there any council amalgamation in NSW that has turned out successfully?
    I doubt it.

  3. Some very convoluted arguments here. I think the Councillors are being used as scapegoats it is very easy to point fingers. So and so is to blame but theer was a tsunami of events happening from drought to floods unprecedented bushfires and coastal erosion, navigational channels silting up. Help for the Central Coast Council was minimal. The Parliamentary Secretary blaming the CCC for all manner of things and denying any State government responsibility. Passing the buck back to council. Although the audit office of Local government missed a half billion problem on the books? The local government minister parroting the Administrators in saying CCC councillors are to blame. Because it suited the State government. They have already taken over control of planning and helicoptered in a new State government panel. So costs will go up and control of building standards go down. We have seen it in half a dozen high-rise buildings already with private certifiers signing off substandard structures.

  4. Fully agree that it is the councillors. How in the hell did we go from being in the black under the post-merger administrator to being in the red under the elected council? Given the future of the Coast demerger shouldn’t even be on the cards, we just need competent members in the council chamber.

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