Local, Opinion/Comment

Is the Coffs Council ‘fit for the big time’?

Is the Coffs Harbour Council  ready to be a senior partner in a major regional “Super Council” – Opinion.

By Andrew

Imagine if you will a local Council wanting to be the senior partner in a regional “Super Council” remembering that it:

  • Has a GM who earns only a little less than the Chief of the nation’s entire airforce, army or navy yet has only a tiny fraction of their respective budgets, workforces, capital equipment or assets to manage, and minuscule public responsibility in comparison with them.
  • Lost $8.8 million over the five years to 2012 in a ‘high-risk’ investment. (And this wasn’t the only time large sums of your money have been lost.)
  • Following a 7.9% rate increase in 2014/15, applied for and received increases of 8.14% in 2015/16 and 7.75% in 2016/17. As IPART noted at the time, that “represents a cumulative increase of 16.52% over the next two years, and for the increase to permanently remain in the rate base.” Inflation at the time, of course, was a mere 2.275%, 1.95%, and 1.75%.”
  • Continues to gouge ratepayers in every conceivable way with increased or new charges and fees while making it more and more difficult to do anything without their (costly and red-tape laden) approval.
  • Spent $110,000 on artworks described as “the big concrete poo” near Combine Street and “the red thing” near Coff Street which never have their signature lighting actually lit. (God help us if the mayor ever gets to build her beloved performing arts centre!)
  • After spending millions upon millions of dollars propping up a dysfunctional and grotty CBD finally enticed a major chain to invest heavily in the Coffs Central redevelopment, only to make life so hard for them to actually do business they decided not to complete the project.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg folks. We’re paying top-shelf champagne prices but getting Diet Coke service from this crowd. Just imagine how crippling for our region a “Super Council” dominated by them would be!



Note: Andrew is a past contributor to the old Coffs Outlook who comes at issues from a usually very well researched free market viewpoint and has argued, erroneously in my opinion, that he may be the ‘only conservative reader of the Coffs Coast Outlook’.  🙂

As always there is ‘plenty of ‘food for thought’ here for readers.

The 2014/15 IPART rates decision referred to above can be found here: https://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/files/748c0cac-38cd-424a-b0b7-a33f00986c40/LG_Determination_-_Coffs_Harbour_City_Councils_application_for_a_special_variation_for_2014-15.pdf

The Acting Editor.


  1. Excellent points Andrew, and I agree they need raising. See I said we would agree at some point!. 😉

    However, would this affect the Joint Organisation that is being proposed by the NSW Government? My understanding is that the MNC JO in NSW potentially covers seven or eight Councils from Grafton in the North to Taree in the South with one vote per council and turns as Chair of the JO.

    In such a set-up, designed to spread economies of scale I understand, would the CHCC not be able to be ‘Boss Cocky’?

    I also understand the CHCC has not voted to jin the MNG JO yet and could be the last one to make a decision on it?

  2. Some interesting points have been made by both Andrew and Richard. So I wonder if one of you might to able to answer a few things for me (and the readers)..
    You say every Council in the “super” Council will have one vote and will receive a turn as the chair.
    1. Do elected officials discuss and vote on proposals before say the local Mayor takes the decision to the “super” council?
    2. Do the GMs decide and take their view to the “super” councils?
    3.Who assumes responsiblity for the “domestic” running of the “super” council?
    4. For what length of time will a local council nominee chair the meeting ie. amonth , ayear etc?
    5. How is the sequence of chairmanship decided?

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