Mayors Kay Fraser and Jane Smith list what they want for their regions from next state government

Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser. Picture: David Stewart
Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser. Picture: David Stewart

THE mayors of Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast have outlined what they're hoping for from the next state government.

Funding for roads and infrastructure, a halt to cost shifting to local councils, and the reinstatement of planning powers to local communities are on their wish lists.

In Lake Macquarie, mayor Kay Fraser is counting on state government support in progressing the Lake Macquarie Transport Interchange and the "catalyst area" in the north-west of the city.

"I'm looking for the state government to support and work with Lake Macquarie Council to help deliver on the potential of the north-west catalyst area. Projects like the completion of Pennant Street Bridge will present opportunities for jobs and growth for the region," Cr Fraser said.

Transport was a priority, she said.

"I'm also passionate about creating a connected community, so I'd like to see investment in shared pathways, the completion of the Fernleigh Awabakal Shared Pathway, and a more holistic approach to public transport so that we can get a decent transport system for the Hunter."

Cr Fraser (Labor) was also looking forward to council working with the state government to deliver an indoor sports stadium for the city.

The Coalition government this week promised to spend $25 million to build such a facility if it were re-elected on Saturday.

"The Hunter Sports Centre expansion is another key project that council would like to work with the state government to deliver," Cr Fraser said.

"It has the potential to see the region become a hub for major events, sports tourism and a range of fitness programs, and would double the annual patronage of the sports complex."

Central Coast mayor Jane Smith. Picture: Supplied

Central Coast mayor Jane Smith. Picture: Supplied

Central Coast mayor Jane Smith (Independent) said she was not alone in her call for the state government to restore planning powers to communities in NSW.

Cr Smith said a Local Government NSW forum held on the Central Coast on Sunday confirmed the local government sector's opposition to the mandatory introduction of planning panels and the widespread use of state environment planning policies (SEPPs) which overrode council planning controls and powers.

"Here on the Coast we have seen the introduction of a new SEPP for the Gosford CBD and for Darkinjung-owned land which remove council completely as the planning authority for major development," Cr Smith said.

"Concerns about SEPPs were shared by those who attended the forum today and it is a key issue that all parties must look to review," Cr Smith said.

"The move to introduce mandatory planning panels, to replace councils as decision-maker, is a further erosion of our powers which Council will continue to fight.

"We need to take back our planning powers and ensure our community have a say in the future of their neighbourhood and our region."

Cr Smith called on candidates to commit to delivering more funding and policy initiatives for the Coast, and to end the "merry-go-round of cost shifting" by ensuring the state government "paid for the things they were responsible for - including dredging of navigable waters".

She also wants to see the state government increase funding for local roads, to oppose the Wallarah 2 coal mine,  and introduce an E5 zone to protect Coastal Open Space System (COSS) lands.

"Last week I had a front-row seat at a Local Government NSW election debate and called on party leaders to increase funding for local roads," Cr Smith said. 

"They listened, and promised to look at funding based on distance of roads not population.

"We have 2200 kilomtres of roads and the state government currently give us just 10 per cent of what we need to maintain their condition.

"We need to compete for funding for new projects as well. It is time our candidates took up the fight for the Central Coast and got us the road funding we deserve."

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