Editorial - Who are we
The Federal Member for Robertson Lucy Wicks has called for the Central Coast to be a stand-along region. (Page 9). She is right on the button but first we have to work out who we are.
CCBR asked this question two years ago in our October 2019 issue. It came about then because the Central Coast was in line to receive a $400 million share from the sale of the Snowy Hydro for infrastructure investment.
That got the chop the day the Deputy Premier became Minister for Regions. He obviously didn't see the Central Coast as a region. Why would he?
Two years on and nothing has changed except that the latest COVID-19 lockdown has highlighted how insignificant our region is.
Think about this:
In 1986 the population of the Central Coast was 190,000. It is now around 340,000 and at the 2016 Census over 25% were over the age of 60 and about 30% were. under 25 years.
The point here is that the over 60s have little interest in the long-term future of the Central Coast but they do vote and politicians listen. The rest of the population is too busy earning a living or getting an education to inform themselves as to what future they want for themselves and their children.
It is this vacuum in which politicians thrive and the bureaucracy does as it likes.
One small example of bureaucratic disfunction is our police service.
There are two Police Districts on the Coast Gosford and Tuggerah Lakes. The office of the Gosford Police District is in Gosford. The office of the Tuggerah Lakes Police District is in Parramatta.
The Department of Planning and Environment has an office in Gosford but the regional office is in Newcastle.
About twelve years ago the State Government under Planning Minister Ray Kelly established the Central Coast Regional Development Corporation (CCRDC) to develop the Gosford Waterfront and Mt Penance Parklands.
In 2018 the CCRDC was amalgamated with the Hunter Development Corporation to become the Hunter Central Coast Development Corporation with head office in Newcastle (of course!).
At the time of this amalgamation there was not a whimper from anyone on the Central Coast.
The Federal Member for Robertson Lucy Wicks is absolutely right. Its time to take a stand and make the Central Coast a stand-alone region.
But the Central Coast community has to be the force behind this. Where are the leaders who will drive this?
On this point we may just have accidentally and coincidentally hit on the answer!
In January the Federal Government appointed Lawrie McKinna as Chairman of Regional Development Australia Central Coast (a Federal Government advisory outfit that should also advise state and local government) and in July a new Board of Directors was installed. (See Page 12).
It is just possible that under his leadership and with a competent Board a new dawn could be rising for our region.
He has started. Last month he called a Round Table of community leaders and politicians to discuss a way forward for our region. It was the first and was very fruitful. More are to follow.Edgar Adams