It’s rare for me to agree with anything Labor says but on the occasion of local Labor politicians calling on the new Minister for Local Government to sort out the mammoth stuff-up with the amalgamation of Gosford and Wyong Councils I think they are on the right tram (CCN324).
As I understand it, the purpose of local government is to enable constituents, especially ratepayers, to govern themselves at a local level with particular emphasis on the day-to-day services required to sustain the local community: roads, footpaths, sewage, water, parks, sporting facilities, beaches, cemeteries; the list is long.
To do this effectively there must be a balance between the size of the jurisdiction, financial capability, access to resources, management capability, communication with stakeholders; again, the list is long.
In principle though ‘small is beautiful’.
This principle has been discarded with the amalgamation of Gosford and Wyong and the ratepayers are suffering.
De-merging is an attractive option; one the ratepayers must be demanding if they are to regain control of their destiny.
The State Government’s merging strategy may have been well intentioned but typical of so many political decisions these days, it was poorly researched and even more poorly implemented.
The Minister and her chief bureaucrats should be unemployed as a consequence but instead they continue to enjoy the high life at our expense.
What makes matters worse is the recently deposed Minister showed as much interest in solving the problem as a penguin does in nesting in Alice Springs.
As for the new Minister, we’ll I wouldn’t hold my breath there either.
But the incompetence within local government doesn’t start or end with the Central Coast Council; it is I believe a state problem: currently there is inadequate governance defined and policed by the State Government that has or should have ultimate responsibility.
Had this been exercised with the Central Coast Council we likely wouldn’t have the current debacle.
What we locals need is to exercise people power; to make abundantly clear to current and potential members of the State Parliament that de-merging the two councils is not an option; we demand it happen; we demand proper governance of local authorities and we demand control of our destiny.
When it comes to deciding Liberal or Labor, the one who commits to giving us these things will get our vote.
So, both sides need to get in the ear of their respective leaders, Mr Perrottet and Mr Minns, and make sure they understand the consequences of not acting on our demands.
We just might be represented by a swag of independents.
Email, Dec 30
John George, Terrigal