At the Council meeting on 3 February 2021, the Administrator resolved to conduct a Constitutional Referendum for the reduction of Councillors (from 15 to 9) at the September 2021 Local Government Elections. This may have some merit — but it is not enough.

As a community member, I have regularly attended local Council meetings for over 20 years. Both the former Gosford and Wyong Councils each had 10 Councillors. In the lead up to the Council election in 2017, community information sessions were conducted by the then Administrator (Mr. Reynolds) and CEO. I asked about the reality of 15 Councillors in a meeting. Doing the math, 15 Councillors each wanting to speak for 5 minutes (as was allowed) meant that an item could potentially take over 75 minutes to debate. I was reassured that it worked fine in other areas.

Central Coast Council meetings have been fractious at times with 15 Councillors, individual personalities and a number of Councillors determined to “blow up the joint”. These issues need to be addressed however, sadly, this is not unique to the Central Coast. There are similar dynamics in other Councils.

The behaviour in a Council meeting is not the most important question for our community. The more critical issue is representation. Before merger, one Councillor represented approximately 16,000 residents. After the merger and before suspension, one Councillor represented approximately 23,500 residents. With projected population growth and reducing the number of Councillors to 9, by 2036 one Councillor will represent approximately 46,000 residents. This weakens representation and weakens our democracy.

The Administrator and Interim CEO have extensive experience with amalgamated Councils and perhaps for this reason, have played down the significance of the merger in the problems Central Coast Council is currently facing. However, it is time for the community to have their say on this fundamental issue of size, scale, representation and democracy. Any referendum to our community needs to include a question about the amalgamation.

8 February, 2021


Central Coast NEW Independents stand for:

  • Giving communities an effective voice
  • Accountability and transparency in Council's actions and decision making
  • Better planning that retains the character of the Central Coast while providing the infrastructure that the community needs
  • Working with the local community to identify priorities for improving local roads, drainage and footpaths
  • Protecting open space and the places we love - urban reserves, the bushland, waterways and beaches
  • Supporting all our community groups, for example arts, sport, environment, recreation and neighbourhood groups
  • Increasing education opportunities through a range of TAFE and University courses and cadetships
  • Creating new local jobs, supporting existing and new sustainable industries
  • Making Gosford and Wyong the regional centres whilst ensuring that all suburbs across the region benefit from Council’s decisions
  • Providing efficient and cost effective waste and recycling services
  • Protecting our drinking water catchments and agricultural lands

Clr Jane Smith resized