Is the Central Coast losing out to Liberal factionalism?

THE RESIGNATION IN January of NSW Premier Baird and the appointment of Gladys Berejiklian as Premier and the resulting Ministerial reshuffle begs the question.

Is the Central Coast just a bit player in the machinations of the Liberal Party in Macquarie Street?

Firstly, though it is good to note that In doling out the ministries Mrs Berejiklian decided that she should be Premier of NSW and not the Premier for Western Sydney as was Mr Baird.

The reshuffle saw the Member for Lane Cove, Anthony Roberts appointed (among other things) Minister for Planning and Minister for Housing. What we have since learned about Mr Roberts is that he has quite an interest in the Central Coast and in fact has a holiday house at Killcare.

At the opening of John Singleton’s Bonython Tower display suite early in February this Minister found time to actually come to East Gosford to open the suite only a day after being sworn in as Minister. He then declared his love for the Central Coast and lamented the lack of development in Gosford saying he would do what he could to get the place moving.

Obviously Mr Roberts is the first Planning Minister who didn’t need a GPS to find Gosford.

However what CCBR finds strange is that the Premier appoints Scot MacDonald from Guyra in the New England area as Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and the Central Coast.

In the Baird Government Mr MacDonald was Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter and Central Coast. Two entirely different regions.

This is not criticism of Mr MacDonald in any way. Just an observation. The Premier then appointed Catherine Cusack from the Northern Rivers town of Lennox Head. Ms Cusack’s appointment has been welcomed in the Hunter. What the Premier could have done was appoint Michael Gallacher, former Police Minister and a man who knows the Central Coast like the back of his hand, Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast. Mr Gallacher’s reputation was unfairly tarnished by the ICAC investigation into Liberal Party donations.

He did no wrong and ICAC knew it. So why is Mr Gallacher on the outer when he would make an admirable representative for our region? Its all about factions and the Liberal Party is riddled with them, just like the Labor Party.

The voters are just pawns. Mr MacDonald has a big job representing our region but at least he doesn’t have to worry about the Hunter. About thirty years ago a couple of local businessmen built an ‘oyster depuration’ plant at Koolewong which looked more like a restaurant. And that was the rock they perished on. Gosford Councillors of the day went berserk and council refused to provide an occupancy certificate.

It became known as the Taj Mahal and sat there for many years until someone came to their senses and allowed it to be used as a – restaurant. The owners wanted to establish a marina but that was too hard as well. Fast forward to 2015 and the owners of the very successful Marmong Point Marina in Lake Macquarie saw the opportunities in Brisbane Water and bought it.

With a progressive Gosford Council and their reputation to back it a new 50-berth Marina got approved. So at last Brisbane Water has a world-class marina that will quickly become a major attraction for the boating community. Our congratulations to Les Binskin and Symantha Suprain for investing in our region. What a breath of fresh air it was to have the newly appointed Minister for Planning attend the opening of John Singleton’s display suite for the Bonython Tower project. Anthony Roberts made no bones about his interest in the Central Coast – as he said, he has a weekender here – and wants to address the 30 years of neglect. At last, a Minister who knows and understands our region. 

Edgar Adams Editor

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