State best to decide on planning matters that go beyond parochial interests

In response to an article published in Coast Community News edition 200; Mayor Smith says, in connection with the idea of Assessment Panels, that “a key consideration … should be public interest, and democratically elected representatives are best placed to consider that.”
It has possibly escaped the Mayor’s attention that state representatives are democratically elected to protect the public interest and might consider that this involves limiting the powers of local councils to deal with planning matters that go beyond parochial interests.
If local government had an unblemished record in development management, her words might carry some weight, but the fact is that performance has been so abysmal that it is easy to justify state intervention.
The Mayor grandly concedes that “some councils might benefit from expert input”, implying that Central Coast is not one in that position, but any unbiased observer might easily conclude that Central Coast is one of those most in need of a non-political mechanism for dealing with matters beyond the Council’s competence (which, on the face of it, looks like almost everything).
If the Mayor believes that the Council is so highly regarded by the ratepayers that the community will rise up in support of her position vis-a-vis the State Government, I think she is due for a rude awakening.
Leaving aside the donkey voters who will endorse any candidate of the party they favour, a large proportion of moderate, swing voters are thoroughly disenchanted with the current councillors who promised so much during the campaign and have delivered so little since election, and I think I can safely predict that Mayor Smith won’t get the office of full-time, paid Mayor in a future council, if she retains her seat at all.

Email, Feb 10
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy

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