THE state government has listened to the Lake Macquarie community, and will open a Service NSW centre in the town by the end of the year.
It reverses the government decision to close the former Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) building in Toronto, in 2015, and later the Service NSW kiosk in the library.
And judging by the community response to the official announcement made in the town centre on Friday, it’s news locals were rapt to hear.
Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Victor Dominello, joined member for Lake Macquarie, Greg Piper, to make it official.
Some locals approached the pair to personally thank them for the breakthrough, and others called out to get Mr Piper’s attention and give him the thumbs up as they walked past the media conference to do their shopping.
It was a lot more pleasant than many of the remarks that had been made about the government and the RTA’s closure – a point Mr Piper touched on at the media conference.
“People were so disappointed when we lost the former motor registry – the RTA – and they had a bit of quiet anger seething there, and maybe resignation that it will never come back [to Toronto],” Mr Piper said.
But a concerted campaign driven by the community, and co-ordinated by Mr Piper, produced a petition signed by more than 11,000 people, and a compelling case to present to the government.
“We never gave up,” Mr Piper said. “To their credit, the state government and Minister Dominello listened.
”Now we’re talking about something that is so much better than what we had before.”
Now we’re talking about something that is so much better than what we had before.- MP Greg Piper
The full-scale Service NSW centre would offer much more than the traditional motor registry functions of an old RTA office, Mr Dominello said.
“The new Toronto Service centre will provide access to over 1000 transactions and services from over 40 agencies across government including digital and face-to-face services, applications for photo cards, trade licences, driver testing and much more,” the Minister said.
Mr Piper said the opening of the Service NSW centre would benefit all businesses in the town.
“It will provide a boost for all the other local businesses at Toronto which have been doing it tough,” he said.