On 12 May 2016, the NSW government amalgamated Gosford and Wyong Councils to become Central Coast Council. The community was never asked if they wanted to merge and 5 years later Central Coast Council faces a significant financial crisis, rates are going up, staff have been axed, community assets are being sold and services cut.
At the time of merger, Gosford and Wyong Councils had a combined debt of over $300 million and only $5 million in unrestricted funds – and yet the NSW government forced the merger of these Councils without the community’s backing.
The NSW Government appointed Administrator, Dick Persson, acknowledges that the community didn’t want the merger then and doesn’t want the merger now – but claims that the matter is resolved.
It is not.
The Friends of Democracy will focus on returning democracy to our community and reclaiming our Council.
Initially this will mean educating the community about the option of a demerger – what this means, what it costs and how it would be achieved. We will then see if there is support for the demerger option.
If not, then we need to consider how the community’s interests can best be served by a large Council. How do we build and support an engaged community that wants to protect the things that they love whilst planning for the future.
The Friends of Democracy is not politically aligned.
We welcome, and hope that, supporters from all political parties - and no political party - will join this cause.