World News – UA – One of NSW’s biggest local councils suspended over $ 89 million financial hole


Local Government Minister for New South Wales Shelley Hancock said she would suspend Coast Central Council after it was revealed the municipality was in a financial hole $ 89 million

Reviews led by CEO Gary Murphy earlier this month detailed the council’s « dire financial situation » which he blamed on the effects of COVID-19 and natural disasters

During a special meeting last night, it was revealed that the liquidity problem is so urgent that more than 2,000 employees may not be paid this week

Ms Hancock said she would begin the process of suspending Labor Mayor Lisa Matthews and the 14 other councilors « for their role in this sad situation »

The New South Wales government will advance the Central Coast Council $ 6 million today to ensure workers are paid and to clear overdue payments to suppliers

« It’s hard to think of a more fundamental failure of a board than paying your own staff, » Ms Hancock said

« Using its own staff as bargaining chips is reprehensible on the part of a governing body that has failed to address its own financial failures, » said Ms Hancock

Central Coast Mayor Lisa Matthews said she had lost confidence in the Council’s chief executive following what she described as « the organization’s long-term structural problems »

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Councilor Matthews said she and her fellow councilors « received inadequate information about the council’s financial situation and only discovered the extent of the problem last night »

« In light of the long-term problems that may have grown out of control within the operational division of the board, the only course of action now available is to insist on a new CEO to manage day-to-day operations « she said

The Central Coast Council is one of the largest in the state and was created two years ago after a merger between Wyong Shire and the town of Gosford

Terrigal MP Adam Crouch said the community had lost confidence in the Central Coast Council

« This is a reprehensible situation to be in and it should never have come to this, » he said

« We had a litany of issues that were kept in camera that were not made public

« It’s palpable; the frustration (of the community) and their anger towards their elected officials is palpable »

Under the Local Government Act, the Minister is required to give the council the opportunity to comment before making a final decision on the suspension

The board will have seven days to make a presentation on why it should not be suspended and an independent director appointed

The financial situation of the Central Coast Council is also reviewed by an independent financial expert and a human resources advisor

« It is a dreadful state of affairs that a board comes to this point where it cannot find a solution to its own financial problems despite my help, » said Ms Hancock

« We have to understand why they have come to this, why one of the biggest and richest councils in New South Wales with so many assets and can actually come to this »

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AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Central Coast Council

Global news – UA – One of New South Wales’ largest local councils suspended over $ 89 million financial hole


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