Democracy lacking in Coast local government

Letters to the editor.

A positive and community acceptable democracy should be one in which the people have the power to participate in decision making.

Democracy is the core value of the United Nations on Human Rights, therefore, having a system in Australia of Representative Democracy, where we the citizens elect representatives to speak to the morals and needs of the community.

It must be efficient, transparent, responsible and accountable, yet somewhere [in] the NSW Government … the citizens became obsolete or unimportant.

Nowhere is this more apparent than at Central Coast Council and the dilemma that has haunted the citizens or residents for the past two years and possibly a further decade.

We understand that those who we elected to represent us, most probably did not perform in the manner we expected, yet it was those who we didn’t elect, that were most at fault – a state government that did not do its homework when forcing the merger of the two councils and [some executives] not knowing the rules or just not being up to the job.

Reviews and inquiries have led us to believe that there was nobody to blame for the massive long-term debt, increases in rates and reduction to services.

Yet after 37 years of being self employed, I soon learnt that the buck stops somewhere and it has to start at the top.

The NSW Government recently announced that our democratic rights would not be returned by the way of a local election until September 2024 with a politically appointed Administrator and faceless bureaucrats making all the decisions until then.

Well, I’m sorry, this does not sit well with me.

When the best our community can expect from the Central Coast Council’s democratic process is to stand before a judicial-style hearing and be given three minutes to raise your issues after filling out the Public Forum form, supplying a written submission and waiting to be approved by the Administrator.

We have no democratically elected Councillors in which we can contact to have our issues put on the agenda for the business paper.

The council hides behind an automated and over-protective telephone answering service.

Very few times can you get through to the right person and then you are always asked to put it in writing.

Let’s not forget that one third of our community is aged or has a disability, being unable or unwilling to go before that judicial-style forum of democracy.

Email, 10 June
Gary Blaschke OAM, Lake Munmorah


4 Comments on "Democracy lacking in Coast local government"

  1. Geoff Robertson | June 17, 2022 at 8:49 pm | Reply

    Look, we all know that the current administration is temporary. Let’s not get into a weeping session about the loss of democratic rights. Administration is a legal process that entities who are facing bankruptcy go through. They are run by an administrator while the directors are stood aside. Just because the CC Council has elected councilors rather than directors does not alter the fact or the process.
    The Administrator is not a dictator, above the law or self-serving. He/she operates within legal rules and constraints.
    For goodness sake, just wait until the situation is under control, then we can get back to the possibility of another bunch of disfunctional chaotic democratically elected leaders. Hopefully we will have learned from the last tilt at democracy.

    • Gary Blaschke | June 20, 2022 at 8:55 pm | Reply

      Sorry Jim, If one man makes all the decisions, gives the citizens of the Central Coast the total of three minutes to put their case forward and then totally ignores what is put forward and simply makes out it wasn’t him, it was the politically appointed Planning Panels, then I call it dictatorship.

  2. Well said Gary! So refreshing to read a balanced and well considered view of our council’s situation.
    To be remembered that it has been both State Government appointed Administrators who drastically raised our land rates, our water rates and sold off our assets, NOT the former councillors! The state government can not hide behind their over blown blustering about former councillors. They could have taken responsibility much earlier, they did not. Thier own auditors did not pick up the financial problems, either did the Minister or the local Parliamentary Sec until after the after the event. And the $500 mil debt we hear so much about, surprise, most of it was handed to the council from the two previous councils and the state government refused to refinance it. So much BS going in NSW. And where is the Labor opposition ? Silent and ineffective.

  3. Kevin Spencer | June 25, 2022 at 6:56 am | Reply

    Well said Gary. It is the state government who forced the amalgamation and then prevented harmonisation of the rates so leaving the council with a lot of extra costs and insufficient income.

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