The MInister for Local Government Wendy Tuckerman has announced Central Coast Council elections will not be held until September 14, 2024.
The Coast remains under administration until then.
“By having the election fall into line with the next round of local government elections ensures that Council and ratepayers are not burdened with the substantial of cost of holding two elections in a relatively short period,” Mrs Tuckerman said on June 1.
“The recovery at Central Coast Council is well under way, but it’s critical we allow the Administrator and General Manager time to complete the reforms necessary to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the council.
“Keeping an Administrator in place until the next local government elections in 2024 will provide stability for residents and enable the council to address the recommendations from the public inquiry, before councillors return.”
Administrator, Rik Hart welcomed the Minister’s announcement, saying it now provides Council with a date to work towards and time to implement the recommendations from the public inquiry into the council’s financial problems.
“Council has made significant progress in stabilising the organisation, holding local government elections in 2024 allows Council to ensure a solid foundation for a newly elected body,” Mr Hart said.
“At this stage, I plan to continue as Administrator and look forward to continuing to work with the Central Coast community to deliver the best outcome for the region.
“While I’ve always been in favour of democracy, I am firmly of the opinion that sacked Councillors should not be allowed to run for Council in a subsequent election, and I will continue to push this view,” he said.
“Experience has shown that when previous Councillors return from a period of administration, the risk of deterioration increases dramatically.
“Holding local government elections in 2024, I can only hope attracts new people to the Councillor role.”
The Constitutional Referendum to determine the future number of Central Coast Councillors will be held at the same time, Council said.
The council’s first 15 councillors of the newly merged Council were elected in September 2017 after the former Wyong and Gosford councils was under administration from amalgamation in May, 2016.
The Council announced it had significant and urgent cash flow issues in October 2020 and 13 councillors were suspended later that month while two resigned before suspension.
An adminsitrator was appointed and, eventually, a public inquiry into the Council recommended the councillors’ positions be declared vacant immediately. That was March 17, 2022.