Ms McBRIDE (Dobell) (10:06): On September 9, the Central Coast will finally go to the polls, and not before time. It has been almost a year and a half since Wyong and Gosford councils were sacked and elected councillors were marched out of the buildings on 13 May 2016part of the New South Wales Liberal government's failed push for amalgamations. I would like to mention the staff who have lived through the merger. They don't deserve the uncertainty that this amalgamation has brought.
To candidates standing for counciland I have been thereyou have a big job cut out for you. First, get used to 'bureaucratese' or local government speak. I have an original Grass Roots DVD that might help. When I joined Wyong council, I was staggered by the policy for the development of policies. However, even this has been surpassed by the council in administration with the decision to not make a decision. Isn't that a decision? Is this a local government version of strategic patience? Next, scour the briefs, and local government speak makes that tough, but you are there to look out for us.
Check very closely sections that deal with our community assets. As part of the merger, Central Coast Council adopted new fees and charges which have left many community groups much worse off. The Country Women's Association of Tuggerah Lakes had a rate hike but can't get a kerbside pick-up because they are classified as a business. As they tell me, they are a whole lot more than tea and scones, but that is a stretch.
Many sporting clubs and community groups have been handed hefty lease agreements with short notice and sharp fee hikes as section 355 committees are dissolved. What about the Berkeley Vale mahjong group? They were recently slugged $3 a week for drawer rental and $8 for cupboards.
You will be a quick study in fancy graphs and charts, which can appear to be council speak dressed up with numbers. Take the council's own Gantt chart, charting the progress of its own transformation, which shows we are not even a third of the way through the process. In fact, the only milestone likely to be reached on time was the development of the transformation program plan itself.
Finally, I will turn to the serious matters before council. Recent revelations about financial oversight and waste management ring alarm bells, and, like our entire community, I am keen to see strong, local elected representatives. That's why I am backing the local Labor team to rebuild our council, protect our community assets and provide services to all our community. Lisa Matthews in The Entrance, Kyle MacGregor in Wyong and Doug Vincent in Budgewoi lead a formidable team of local activists who have our community's best interests at heart.