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Qualified and respected: Lee Shearer. Qualified and respected: Lee Shearer.
06 January 2018 Posted by 

Lee Shearer holds Coast's future in her hands

 DALLAS SHERRINGHAM 
Associate Editor
LEE Shearer literally holds the future of the Central Coast in the palm of her hands.
The highly qualified and well respected Ms Shearer earlier this year was appointed Coordinator General for the Central Coast.
 
In her new role, she will also have a profound effect on the success of business on the Coast.
 
Ms Shearer is also the Conjoint Professor of Practice at the University of Newcastle Faculty of Business and Law.
 
She faces the challenge of getting the coast to fulfill its potential as one of the Australia’s great new urban regions while maintaining its unique lifestyle and environment.
 
Hand-picked by the NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts, she will guide the Coast through its most exciting and most challenging period.
 
Ms Shearer will be responsible for driving the delivery of the Central Coast Regional Plan 2036 which is aimed at unlocking employment opportunities for locals, fast tracking housing supply and improving infrastructure in the area.
 
“The Plan” as it has become universally known, is crucial to the future of coast businesses who need regional growth in order to grow and invest. This in turn leads to more jobs for our region.
 
Prior to this appointment Ms Shearer headed up the NSW Resources Regulator, responsible for compliance and enforcement functions across NSW mining and energy sectors.
 
She is a highly experienced regulator with a majority of her career spent in the NSW Police Force performing operational roles including Director for Legal Services and Assistant Commissioner and Commander Northern Region Local Area. In this role she led large operational and legal teams to deliver regulatory outcomes to the community.
 
“It is a great privilege to drive the implementation of the Central Coast Regional Plan 2036,” Ms Shearer told me in an exclusive chat.
 
“We are well and truly on the journey to realise the vision of the Plan. It is a 20-year blueprint to deliver environmentally sustainable prosperity, local jobs, fast-tracked housing supply, connected communities, improved infrastructure and to realise the full potential of urban centres in this stunning part of the world.”
 
“The growth of the Central Coast presents as a fantastic opportunity to achieve the Plan’s ambitions, “she said.
 
”The region’s population is predicted to swell by 75,500 people in the next 20 years with the creation of 25,000 new jobs and almost 42,000 new homes.  
 
“Managing that growth is fundamental to keeping the Central Coast one of the most attractive and liveable parts of NSW.
 
The Plan plays an important role in ensuring that growth is harnessed to maximise economic development and opportunities for people on the Coast while preserving our beautiful environment,” Ms Shearer said.
 
The plan sets out four goals for the region:  
 
1. A prosperous Central Coast with more jobs close to home. 
2. Protect the natural environment and manage the use of agricultural and resource lands. 
3. Develop well-connected communities and attractive lifestyles. 
4. Ensure there is a variety of housing choice to suit varying needs and lifestyles. 
 
“My role is to drive delivery of these goals and remove roadblocks to their implementation. Helping me is a small but proactive team of planners and support staff working in the Central Coast Planning Coordination Unit in Gosford.”
 
Ms Shearer said the formulation of the Plan was the result of much public and stakeholder consultation and built on the great work done on previous plans. 
 
“Many factors have contributed to stop-start growth and development here on the Coast. A major reason the lack of cohesion between key stakeholders,” she said.  
 
“It is often difficult when you are in the day-to-day grind to do anything but row your boat in the usual direction and keep your head just above the water line. With my appointment, the structure is in place to bring all the efforts together, allow all of us to get in the one boat and row in the same direction towards the same goals.   
 
“My core function is to break down those silos, remove the obstacles and bring the various agencies, both State and Local Government, on the journey which is set out through the Plan and deliver real, tangible outcomes that impact people’s day-to-day lives, “ she said.
 
“Opening the lines of communication between the various stakeholders doubles as one the biggest challenges I have and one of the greatest opportunities,” Ms Shearer said.
 
In eight months in the role, Ms Shearer has had more than 100 face-to-face meetings with key stakeholders and business people. 
 
“The feeling I get when I walk away from those meetings is overwhelmingly positive. There’s real willingness from all to get in and get things done for the people of the Central Coast, she said.
 
“Once a month I chair the Delivery Coordination and Monitoring Committee, a group comprised of Government and local body representatives, including Central Coast Council.  This is the engine that drives implementation of the Plan.  
 
“The crucial importance of being able to make a living close to where you live is why we are investing in Gosford’s revitalisation, one of our top 10 priority actions. We have a strategy to energise the city and attract larger businesses and the jobs they will bring. 
 
“Our investment in the City Centre is well underway with the $350M new health and wellbeing centre and University of Newcastle Central Coast Medical School and Research Institute at Gosford Hospital. 
 
“At the waterfront end staff are settling into their high-tech work stations in the impressive new Tax Office building and construction has begun on its neighbour, the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation building.
 
“These two buildings will accommodate nearly 1,000 ongoing jobs and inject millions of dollars into the local economy.  Another priority is delivering on a range of housing choices for all members of our community in hubs close to everything they need in life. 
 
“The Central Coast is as productive as it is beautiful. Mapping and conserving our agricultural lands and developing a strategy to ensure that land west of the M1 is managed sustainably to balance lifestyle housing and supporting our food bowl and economy, is yet another priority. 
 
“Promoting the Northern Growth Corridor – between Tuggerah and Warnervale and the Southern Growth Corridor – that links Somersby in the west and Erina in the east, as key locations for economic development, residential growth and industry investment is fundamental to achieving our goal of a prosperous Central Coast with more jobs close to home.   
  
"In the Plan’s first year we have seen construction of more than 1000 new homes on the Central Coast, and the granting of 1500 building approvals. I have overseen the finalisation of 18 new local environment plans and Gateway Determinations with potential for 420 local jobs and 800 new dwellings.
 
“However, this is only the beginning of our journey. Where we will end up is limited only by our imagination, our energy and our commitment,” she concluded.


editor

Michael Walls
Publisher
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.