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01 March 2018 Posted by 


YES to Tourism - NO to Airport
LOCAL council politics is a crazy world of hypocrisy where common sense at times seems a million miles away.

This was perfectly illustrated at a recent Central Coast Council meeting where councilors in one sitting voted to:

1. Drive the coast’s potential $1bn plus tourist industry with a bold new plan.
2. Decided not to go ahead with plans to expand Central Coast Airport, the most vital part of any tourism plan in the 21st century.

Just what it takes to connect the two vital cogs in the mind of our councilors is a mystery that must remain unanswered.

But it means the coast will remain the only major tourist destination the world without an airport.

Sadly in voting to support the State Government’s “no airport” stance, not one councilor mentioned the inconvenience to travelers on the coast and not one considered holidaymakers trying to get here.

Council seemed more interested in the jobs it would create, rather than the need for a modern commuter airport on the coast.

By the margin of one vote, council harpooned the very tourist plan it set in motion at the same meeting

Mayor Jane Smith said it was time for the Council to move on and look at other options to create employment for the Central Coast.

“The Airport is not a priority project in the Central Coast Regional Plan,” Mayor Smith said.

“It is time to move on and create job opportunities across the Coast – particularly in the Wyong Economic Zone.”

Meanwhile, back at the tourism plan, it was announced as a: “Vision is for the Central Coast to be the natural choice for leisure, business and special events in regional NSW”. 

Mayor Smith said the Plan was testament to what the amalgamated Council could deliver when working with key stakeholders in the best interests of the community.

How the decision not to provide an airport for that community was never discussed. Indeed, council voted against putting its own commissioned airport plan on display.

“Tourism is a significant industry on the Coast injecting $867M into the economy in 2016 from 4.85 million visitors,” Mayor Smith said.

“This does mean lots of jobs now but we must grow the industry even more so it continues to deliver more employment opportunities and economic development for our growing community.”

“The actions falling out of the plan are an opportunity for Council, along with our local industry, to commit to working together on achieving what needs to happen in order to increase the success of the visitor economy on the Central Coast.

“We are in a unique and enviable position as we are the only Council that is a region in its own right as we can really stand out and stand together as the region of choice for visitors.”

Sadly, that choice is severely restricted by the lack of an airport.

The Central Coast Destination Management Plan has been developed in partnership with local government, the tourism industry, the Central Coast Tourism board and staff, and other tourism stakeholders through multiple destination management workshops, face to face interviews and online surveys, consulting over 120 stakeholders in the process.

The people of the coast and key stakeholders have not been given a similar say in the airport issue.

Key strategic priorities for the Plan include the development of a new Destination Brand and targeted campaign activity to deliver a clear single message for the destination, establish an events strategy program which maintains and grows off-peak, multi-day events and develop entrepreneur, innovation hubs and mentoring programs specifically targeting youth employment in the tourism sector to lift the overall visitor experience, product development and investment attraction.

The Plan was put exhibition in August 2017 with additional workshops held in November.

A similar public consultation on the new airport would have been the sensible and honorable thing to do.



Michael Walls
P: 0407 783 413

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