Plenty of confidence as we move into 2021
With 2020 now behind us a quick look back would have to tell us that (a) Australia has handled the COVID-19 pandemic exceptionally well and (b) we are lucky to be living on the Central Coast.
It was the same at the start of last year when this region dodged a bullet with the catastrophic bushfires. We escaped what could have been our own catastrophe had they not been stopped at Mangrove Mountain.
With that in mind and trying to get a handle on what we might expect as we move into 2021 CCBR talked to some of the various business owners around the region.
Across business categories major non-government dependent businesses in our region are; Manufacturing, Construction, Hospitality and Retail.
All indications are that our manufacturing sector is going "gangbusters" as one business owner put it. And so is the region's building industry check out our article on page 10 which is a review of projects underway and about to start across the region. Hospitality which includes accommodation and food are now quite happy and looking forward to a satisfactory year.
Retail is a mixed bag with some, mostly food businesses reporting good business, while others are just surviving.
The travel sector is in real trouble with international travel out of the question for at least all of 2021.
There is no question that JobKeeper and the various state and federal grants that are available to business have kept most going.
There is no question that that Federal Government and the NSW Government have handled this crisis exceptionally well. No politics just a commitment to getting the whole community through these tough times.
However, 2021 will see a lot of businesses fall by the wayside. We have to remember that Australia has not had a recession for 30 years and there are businesses out there that have never seen anything but good times and will find it impossible to continue as the government winds back the subsidies that have kept everyone going.
One issue that we will be stuck with through to September is that of the future of our Central Coast Council.
Administrator, Dick Persson AM, is there until April after which he will hand down his report to the Local Government Minister.
It is unlikely that he will find any reason for the Minister to sack this mob, they were not corrupt and no one stole any money or took bribes they weren't smart enough to try that
Whether the Local Government Act provides for maladministration is another matter.
When you watch these councillors perform on YouTube (all council meetings are livestreamed) and see how the ALP councillors plus independents - except for Councillors Best and McLachlan who called them out - have been happy to be manipulated this has to be as close to maladministration as one can get.
One example of this is the appointment of the CEO under then Mayor Jane Smith. Council did advertise for a CEO and they received five or six applications but no one was told who and why Gary Murphy was appointed CEO.
Mr Murphy came from Lismore Council where the rate income was around $50 million annually to the second largest council in NSW with a rate income of around $250 million.
Put simply this is akin to asking a milk bar owner to manage BHP. And yet this Mayor and her Committee appointed Mr Murphy and refused to tell the full council who else had applied or the compelling reasons for Mr Murphy's appointment on a whopping big salary.
Meanwhile, since the appointment of the Administrator now Deputy Mayor, Jane Smith at every opportunity prattles on about "transparency".
She has a regular half page advertisement in the Coast Community Newspaper under the banner 'Central Coast NEW Independents (never mentioning that she was for 16 years part-time CEO of the green group Community Environment Network) where she airs her views and talks about the importance of "transparency".
And, she is totally supported by the Labor Councillors plus Independent Councillor Greenaway.
We voted this lot in and we are now whinging about the necessary 15% rate rise that the Administrator needs as part of a bail out of Council. Not too many are commenting on the properties that must be sold off, one of which will be Gosford Council Chambers and the obvious move of staff to Wyong. That will have an immeasurable effect on the economy of the Gosford CBD.
Thanks Councillor Jane Smith! Where was the transparency?