The Central Coast region was formally overseen by two councils. To our south was Gosford City Council and the north was Wyong Shire Council. In the former Gosford 10 Councillors covered the entire local government areas. In the former Wyong was divided into Wards with Councillor representation form each ward.
In 2016 the NSW Government decided to amalgamate the two councils along with several other regions throughout N.S.W. The amalgamation of the former Gosford and Wyong became the Central Coast Council. The amalgamation resulted in the establishment of wards consist of Gosford East, Gosford West, Wyong, The Entrance and the Budgewoi wards. There are three Councillor representatives for each ward resulting in a total of 15 Councillors.
Central Coast Council
For information about Central Coast Council visit the Council’s website at https://www.centralcoast.nsw.gov.au
Your Opportunity to participate in the Planning Process
Everyone can lodge a submission when a Development Application (DA) is lodged or have your say on documents placed on public exhibition by Council. If you wish to find out how to lodge a submission on DA that is currently being considered by Council refer to the various information sheets under the tab heading RESOURCES on this website. Under this heading you will find fact sheets on:
- TOOL KIT FOR DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION INFORMATION
- MAKING A SUBMISSION
- USEFUL LINKS
- TREE REMOVAL
Although lodging a submission offers you a mechanism to present your views formally, each of the 340,000 residents of the Central Coast could contact council staff or their respective Councillors, if they had any issue.
In the former Gosford, if 5 submissions were received on any development application the matter would be automatically referred to Council for determination. Alternatively, if any Councillor wished for a development application to be determined by Council the matter would be forwarded to Council for determination. For all development applications referred to Council any resident would be given 3 minutes to address the Council meeting and a 2-minute extension if the Councillors granted an extension. On controversial applications multiple 2-minute extension could be granted.
In the former Wyong, if resident’s issue warranted and if a Councillor was willing to place the issue on the council agenda, as a motion for the next meeting, plus the Mayor approved, the resident would be given 5 minutes in the council chamber during a general meeting, to state their name and address plus the issue/s worrying them.
Reviewing the procedures in both the former Gosford and Wyong opportunity was provided for residents to directly present their concerns to their elected representatives.
In 2017 the State government issued the Central Coast Regional Plan 2036. As this State Government issued the plan the Central Coast Council was required to accept the plan and implement relevant actions. Lee Shearer, former assistant police commissioner was appointed as the Central Coast’s Coordinator General to oversee the introduction of the Regional Plan 2036 and its fact tracking.
Determination of Development Applications
Since the amalgamation of the two councils many residents have had grave concerns with the operations of the stand alone, Central Coast Council, yet is it really stand alone? The N.S.W. Government has also recently introduced the Central Coast Local Planning Panel in addition to the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panels which was established in June 2009.
Planning NSW’s own website states that Community representatives appointed to a local planning panel are not required to have planning expertise. The role of the community representative is to ensure that local insights and knowledge are considered as part of the panel’s decision making. Yet, if the community representative does not live on the Central Coast or in the allocated ward, do the ward residents have effective representation, as with our elected Councillors, usually are local?
The democratically elected Councillors from each of our wards no longer have the powers to approve or object to any development application or make the final decision on any planning proposal.
The rules have now changed along with the referees, even though the concerns of the loss of democracy are not only coming from residents. Many of the earmarked councils throughout N.S.W. vehemently opposed any amalgamation including Local Government NSW representing the interests of N.S.W. Councils and many of our elected Councillors themselves.
It is uncertain to where our democratic rights are now heading, when a perceived authoritarian state and their appointed panel members have more influence with planning the Central Coast than that of our elected Councillors or the residents and ratepayers.