I welcome the announcement made today by Minister for Local Government, Wendy Tuckerman, releasing the report into the inquiry on Central Coast Council and all eight recommendations in this report.
I have met with the Minister on a number of occasions regarding this matter expressing our community’s concerns. I thank the Minister for recognising these concerns and therefore tabling the report, out of session, today.
I absolutely welcome the first recommendation declaring all civic offices at Central Coast Council be declared vacant, effective immediately.
The focus of elected Councillors needs to be about the betterment for our region, not about individual point scoring. This report has clearly identified that their behavior has played a contributing factor.
I welcome the recommendation for rigorous and mandatory training going forward for future Councillors, providing those seeking to be elected into office with the necessary framework and understanding needed to undertake their responsibilities.
I am pleased to see that Commissioner McCulloch’s recommends that an Administrator be appointed to serve until the local government election, the date of which will be determined in consultation with the Electoral Commission.
Central Coast Council Administrator Rik Hart and CEO David Farmer have done an excellent job, making the tough decisions related to the Council’s financial situation that the former elected body failed to make.
The recommendation for additional time in administration, prior to any election, will allow Mr Hart and Mr Farmer to continue to make the tough decisions in order to bring Central Coast Council back on track ready for a set of brand new Councillors.
It is important to note that Commissioner McCulloch’s report reaffirms that the voluntary amalgamation of both Gosford and Wyong Council in 2016 did not contribute to Central Coast Council’s financial issue.
Finally, I would like to thank Commissioner McCulloch for her concise report and recommendations.