Q & A
Central Coast Greens Council candidates have been asked their position on a variety of issues facing the Central Coast. Here are the questions, and our replies:
We are getting in touch to present you with a brief overview of the Creative Arts sector’s potential to make an even more significant contribution to this region’s economy, jobs and quality of life.
The attached document is a collaboration drawing upon our experience and direct involvement in the Creative sector on the Coast for many years, and discussions with many stakeholders involved in the Arts.
We are asking for a commitment from you in writing prior to this weekend’s elections, that you will meet with us following your successful election to Council, in order to discuss in more detail, the issues and suggestions outlined in our two page document, ‘Why the Arts Are Important on the Central Coast’.
We look forward to hearing from you, and wish you every success in becoming a representative on our Council on September 9.
Arts Educator, Founder of Art Studios Cooperative, 5 Lands Artist Collective
Arts Reporter and Researcher
From Cath Connor
Dear Cathryn and Meredith,
Thank you for your letter.
I would be more than happy to meet with you and discuss the ideas presented in the document you have sent me, should I be elected on Saturday. The Greens believe that a strong cultural life is essential to a healthy community and we would actively support a wide variety of activities and events across the coast. We have been active in supporting the “Gosford Needs a Cultural Heart” group and believe that a Arts and Culture precinct would be a valuable and vibrant addition to the southern part of the Central Coast. (See https://www.facebook.com/Gosford-Needs-a-Cultural-Heart-Action-Group-426268037581764/)
I like the idea of an atlas, and think that undertaking research to quantify and describe the creative industries sector of the region would provide an excellent basis for decision-making in this area.
Candidate for the Central Coast Greens – The Entrance Ward
0439 414 248
From Kate da Costa
As you know, the Central Coast Greens have been long time supporters of the Creative Heart for Gosford campaign, and worked to save the Gosford school site for a genuine arts and culture precinct.
Whether or not elected, I’d be happy to meet with you to discuss your ideas further – we are on record as recognizing the importance of culture in our community
Kate da Costa
Greens candidate for Gosford West
Stephen Pearson, lead candidate Greens, Gosford East Ward
The Greens will take a positive set of policies to the Council. I believe that working with other Councillors of good will we can deliver so much more for the region. We should be an innovation powerhouse with a great quality of life, local jobs, fantastic natural environment and sustainable development.
My qualifications as a Chartered Accountant and experience in senior roles in all sizes of enterprises will enable me to tackle the role of Councillor. We need to get Council back on track to address the critical infrastructure, planning, financial management and service underperformance issues. The Council will demerge at some point in the future but, post 9th September, we must have a Council that performs to the highest standards of ethical behaviour in all its dealings.
Re Fitzgerald – Didn’t know there was an opportunity to sign and would do so if I could. The principles are at the core of why I am standing.
Kate da Costa, lead candidate Greens, Gosford West Ward
I will work with all other councillors to bring about genuine community consultation, financial transparency and the principles of ecological sustainability into everything the Central Coast Council does. I have a passion for community development and engagement. My background as an academic means I am able to understand complex material quickly, and explain it to others, and my experience as an archaeologist means I have a long-term time perspective, beyond the next few elections. I won’t be brushed off with unsatisfactory answers. Any Green on council will work to make the Central Coast a healthy, liveable and sustainable community.
All 10 members of the Australian Greens have signed the Fitzgerald Principles which are:
- To act honourably and fairly and solely in the public interest
- To treat all citizens equally
- To tell the truth
- Not to mislead or deceive
- Not to withhold or obfuscate information to which voters are entitled
- Not to spend public money except for public benefit
- Not to use your position or information gained from your position for your benefit or the benefit of a family member, friend, political party or other related entity
Please consider this my signature to abide by these principles when in public office.
Cath Connor, lead candidate Greens, The Entrance Ward
As a Green candidate, I have four goals which will underpin my approach to policy-making on Council. They are to promote environmental sustainability, to ensure social equity and fairness, to foster grassroots democracy and to act honestly and ethically.
Planning and development needs to be smart and must recognise and value our environment. It must be accompanied by required infrastructure – public transport, bike paths, road and rail, pre-schools, TAFE and university facilities, public wifi hubs, sporting facilities, amazing playgrounds and open spaces. Affordable housing and access to services are a priority. Fostering grassroots democracy translates into active consultation with the community.
I have no hesitation in pledging to follow the Fitzgerald Principles of Good Governance.
Doug Williamson, candidate Greens, The Entrance Ward
The new Central Coast Council, with reduced levels of local representation, stands at an environmental and developmental crossroad. Should CCC be dominated by cashed-up developers who see this region just as a honey pot waiting for them to bulldoze, clear and build all over without adequate planning, urban infrastructure, public transport, clean air or water; or should the 10/50 clearing regulations and oversized steel and glass shoeboxes on the best land in the region consigned to history as a case study in inadequate knee-jerk planning?
The Greens offer the Coast an opportunity to change how our community and our beautiful region is managed now to where we provide for all of us today, preserve the environment for the those who will come after us and to showcase how we do this to surrounding regions. After all, unless we change direction, it follows that we will continue to go the same way that we are currently headed and previous history has been somewhat less than stellar.
I support the Fitzgerald principles for open and honest behaviour unequivocally and hope that all incoming councillors in CCC will follow them in both word and intent.
The Central Coast Greens have been advocating a system of what we are calling Precinct Committees (but could have other names). To avoid these becoming mere window dressing, we believe that there should be requirements mandated in council decision making processes to consult with these Precinct Committees and to have the Committee feedback incorporated and documented in decisions. Committees could of course be proactive and raise issues with councillors and staff. Wyong successfully ran precinct committees for some time, and there are many other successful models to follow. I know in Gosford, conscientious councillors attended progress association meetings, but this was ad-hoc and was not part of the official decision making process.
We Greens belong to a party with a significantly decentralized and grassroots decision-making structure. We know that while this sometimes makes decisions slow to achieve, they are better decisions because more stakeholders have had a chance to discuss proposals, suggest improvements, and consultatively own the decision through consensus. Obviously not all decisions are referred to all stakeholders, but there needs to be a collective agreement on what should be referred, and what that process should be.
I would also be expecting that the “Precinct Committees” themselves would endeavour to forge links with community groups in their area. I am imaging, therefore, and let us take the proposed Mountain DCP as an example, that councillors (not just from this ward either) and staff would be obliged to meet with the Committee in a public meeting to commence the discussions about what that DCP would cover and what kind of community standards the area’s residents and businesses want. That first draft would go via the Precinct Committee to any smaller community group that was interested. Those smaller groups would funnel their responses back to the main Committee which would then meet again with councillors and staff. This iteration would continue (openly) until the Committee felt the DCP was ready for formal ratification by councillors. For DAs, especially above a certain size, the Precinct Committee must be notified, and no decision could be made until the Committee responds (within a reasonable time frame of course).
If council staff can readily find the Chamber of commerce to talk to, we think they can find community groups too.
Kate da Costa
Lead Candidate, The Greens
Gosford West Ward