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Deputy Mayor, Jane Smith, left with new Mayor Lisa Matthews. Deputy Mayor, Jane Smith, left with new Mayor Lisa Matthews. Featured
12 November 2019 Posted by 


War of words crippling progress

CENTRAL COAST Council and the State Government are involved in a war of words and NSW Business Chamber Central Coast Regional Director Paula Martin says business and growth prospects for the region are suffering.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian was on the Coast a couple of weeks ago to deliver $2M in funding for a major overhaul of the Central Coast Conservatorium, using the occasion to lash out at Central Coast Council for “sitting on its hands” over planning for a Performing Arts Centre in Gosford.
Ms Berejiklian said the Council needed to “hop to it” if it wanted to capitalise on a $10M pledge for the project made in 2015 following its recent decision to shelve it once again.
Newly elected mayor Lisa Matthews was quick to hit back, defending the deferral of plans for the centre and calling for Government investment in a range of other projects.
The exchange was the latest salvo in a series of snipes coming from both the Council and Liberal Member for Terrigal Adam Crouch.
It all started a couple of months ago, when the Government announced a Regional Planning Panel would be introduced for the Coast early next year, in what then Mayor Jane Smith described as a “power grab”.
Not long after, Council voted to abandon original plans for a cliff top walkway at Winney Bay and explore softer options, forfeiting a promised $4.6M State Government investment in the project, and prompting Mr Crouch to declare it was a council “in chaos”.
Funds in limbo
And now the Premier has weighed in over Councils’ recent decision to put plans for a Cultural Precinct in the heart of the CBD incorporating a performing arts centre and regional library on hold to focus instead on pushing ahead with plans for a library as a stand-alone project.
Ms Berejiklian said the $10M pledged for a performing arts centre was in limbo pending a suitable proposal from Council.
Ms Martin has urged our “local leaders” to “focus on the big picture”.
“The lack of alignment and action between all levels of government is hurting business and in turn the Central Coast’s growth prospects,” she said.
“Our regional competitiveness is well behind LGAs with similar characteristics - like the Sunshine Coast and Geelong, who have faced similar issues to us here on the Central Coast.
“These regions have set out to attract investment and stimulate business growth through access to innovation, education, research and entertainment.
“How did they do it? Through vision, alignment and action.  The Central Coast should take a leaf out of their book.
“According to recent labour force data, Newcastle (has grown) 12,000 jobs and the Central Coast (has) lost 9000 jobs.
“Central Coast businesses are innovative, competitive and even global, but their ability to compete with other regions is hamstrung by an apparent lack of leadership and a sense that it’s too difficult to get things done here.”


Michael Walls
P: 0407 783 413
E: Michael@accessnews.com.au

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Central Coast Business Access (CCBA) covers the business and community issues of the NSW Central Coast region. CCBA is a prime media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities.