In 2016, the NSW State government amalgamated Gosford and Wyong Councils against the wishes of the Central Coast community. Five years later, Central Coast Council is under Administration, subject to a public inquiry, staff have been sacked, public assets are sold and rates are rising.
The amalgamation was never properly funded by the NSW government. In October 2020, Central Coast Council estimated the cost of the merger to be over $100 million. During the Public Inquiry into Central Coast Council, Mr. Rob Noble (CEO when the Council was amalgamated), estimated the total cost of amalgamation to be in the order of $120 - $150 million.
The NSW Government provided $10 million for the process of amalgamation (with another $!0 million for projects that increase ongoing maintenance costs for Council).
Now the Central Coast community is being asked to pay more rates, pay increased fees and charges – and lose more public assets - whilst services decline.
In the last 5 years, the NSW government has also
- changed planning rules in Gosford to reduce developer contributions to Council by an estimated $190million
- failed to pay for the emergency coastal works that they direct Council to do (~$1.9 million) and
- continued to increase the amount of cost shifting (estimated $45 million each year).
To add salt to the wound, In 2018 the former Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, approved $90 million for Hornsby Council after changing the guidelines for the Stronger Communities Fund. This fund was intended for merged Councils - however, Hornsby Council was not merged. The Premier’s office shredded the documents and deleted files related to the Stronger Communities Fund.
Enough is enough! Before the Central Coast community is asked to pay higher rates, increased fees and charges and lose more public assets – the NSW government should pay the $100 million that they owe the Central Coast.
Fair’s fair Premier! – the NSW Government should pay the $100 million that you owe our Council and our community.