These days it is almost impossible to get CCBR out to our readers by mail until mid month as Australia Post has become quite unreliable. So our paid subscribers will always receive it electronically much sooner. For that reason we won’t be able to comment on the result of the Central Coast Council election until October. At the same time because we go to print at the end of the month we are unable to comment much on the candidates who will be standing as only a few have put their hands up as I write this column. While it is five minutes to midnight neither Liberal or Labor Parties have been able to get their act together and announce who their candidates will be, even though this has been on the cards since May last year. So one has to ask what the two major Parties are up to. Do they really care about our region or are they playing games. While we obviously know who a few candidates will be we can’t comment because there has been no preselection. With nominations open for candidates to register from 31 July to 9 August who knows who will be putting their hands up to earn a paltry $25,000 per year – but its better than the dole!
We are hearing that some former Gosford councillors are standing. These people presided over one of the most dysfunctional councils in NSW leading to the loss of millions in the now famous CDO scandal as well as an unprecedented financial mess. These people should be barred from standing but unfortunately the law when it comes to public office allows any boofhead to stand and get elected.
As we go to press the marketing of tourism on the Central Coast is undergoing a massive change (see Page 9) with the closure of Central Coast Tourism Inc and the region being rolled into a larger region that includes Blue Mountains and the Hunter. From 31 July the Tourist Information Centres at Kariong and Gosford will close also. In the last week of July Central Coast Council adopted a draft Central Coast Destination Management Plan which is now on exhibition and which we will report on in August CCBR. Meanwhile no one has heard from the Sydney ad agency Affinity that Central Coast Council awarded the marketing contract to a couple of months ago. It’s all been very quiet since. Perhaps Central Coast Tourism Inc had run its race having been established about 25 years ago before the Internet. What we do know is that there has not been any significant investment in the industry in recent years, with one exception – the Gosford Classic Car Museum $80 million!! The region needs attractions and this Museum is fast becoming the leading attraction. When the Liberals came into government they decided to shake things up and established Destination NSW which was a positive move. Their next step was to shake up the regions reducing the number regional marketing organisations so that now the Central Coast is part of a larger area. We might have an industry that employs 12,500 and is worth of $900 million annually but it is a fragile industry subject to competition from places like the Hunter region, on our doorstep, and everywhere else. It is also subject to weather because we have focussed excessively on our beaches and to the economy in general. Council’s Destination Management Plan has a number of goals and one is to ‘target dispersed growth mid-week, off-peak and across the Coast. This is something that has not been addressed satisfactorily over a long period. There is no mention of targeting the high yield market and this has most potential. It will be interesting to see how the new councillors approach this. Hopefully not like the previous lot in Gosford and Wyong did.