MidCoast Council FAQs
With any council amalgamation comes much uncertainty and questions about how this will affect the community it serves. Here we will aim to cover as many of your questions as possible, but please don’t hesitate to contact us if there’s something else you’d like to know. This list of FAQs will be updated frequently, so please check back from time-to-time.
How was MidCoast Council created, and what are its boundaries?
A proposal to merge Greater Taree City, Great Lakes and Gloucester Shire Councils was put forward by the Minister for Local Government in March 2016. Our new council was proclaimed on 12 May 2016.
The “proclamation”, which is the official documentation handed down by the State Government, contains valuable information about our new council and a map showing its boundaries. You can read the proclamation here.
MidCoast Council was one of 19 newly formed councils which resulted from mergers announced on 12 May. General information about all new councils and how they will operate can be found at www.strongercouncils.com.au
Who determined which councils should merge?
The Minister for Local Government, Paul Toole made a decision about which councils should merge, following the recommendation of a delegate that was appointed to review each merger proposal. In our region, Dr Ian Tiley acted as the delegate who undertook public inquiries in each of the three former council areas. You can read Dr Tiley’s recommendations here.
How was the name of our new council chosen?
The NSW Government proclamation announced the new council name would be "Mid-Coast Council" which is the Council's name for legal purposes. Our registered business name will be "MidCoast Council".
Who will pay for our new council to be established?
The NSW Government has provided funds to support the set-up of MidCoast Council, as well as additional funding for community infrastructure and services:
- The New Council Implementation Fund will provide MidCoast Council with $5million to meet the up-front costs of implementation. This covers things like developing a new identity including branding and signage, developing a new website and integrating computer systems.
- The Stronger Communities Fund will provide MidCoast Council with up to $15million to invest in new or improved infrastructure and better services for the community.Guidelines for use of these funds can be found here.
Will my rates stay the same?
The NSW Government's policy is that there is a 4-year rate path freeze for any newly created council. This means the rate structure that applied for 2015/2016 will be used to levy rates for 2016/2017.
The special rate variation previously approved for the former Gloucester Shire Council will apply to the Gloucester area. The rates for the former Greater Taree City and Great Lakes Council areas will increase by the rate peg of 1.8%.
The NSW Government has advised that newly elected councils will review rate structures following their election in September 2017.
Despite the NSW Government's policy MidCoast Council will be investigating the ability to apply for a special rate variation to take effect in 2017/2018 based on the financial analysis undertaken by Morrison Low on the financial sustainability of the new entity.
Will the services and facilities that my former council provided to residents, ratepayers and businesses remain the same?
Yes, it’s business as usual with no major changes expected to services or community facilities in the short term. Rubbish collection and library hours, for example, will continue as normal. If changes are to be implemented, you will be provided with as much advance notice as possible.
Who is in charge at my new council?
John Turner has been appointed as Administrator and is legally designated to perform the functions of the governing body of our council under the Local Government Act. This includes the roles of all previous mayors and councillors. John will oversee the running of MidCoast Council until local council elections are held in September 2017. You can read about John’s previous experience here.
John will be supported by Glenn Handford, who has been appointed by the Minister as the Interim General Manager. Glenn is responsible for the day-to-day running of MidCoast Council as it transitions from the three former councils into one single entity.
The permanent General Manager position will be formally advertised and recruited following election of the new council in September 2017.
Why is the election so far in the future?
The NSW Government has determined that the date for the election of a new Council will be 9 September 2017. The mayor will be elected by the new Council at their first meeting.
Who will go to public meetings and functions usually attended by the mayor and councillors?
The Administrator may attend major public meetings, official events and other functions where council representation was previously made by our former Mayors and Councillors. This includes performing citizenship ceremonies. If you would like to request John’s attendance at a public event, please call 6591 7202 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Will there still be Council meetings and where will they be held?
Yes, our first council meeting was held on Wednesday 25 May 2016 at the Forster Council Chambers. Regular meetings will alternate between Forster, Gloucester and Taree Council offices. The dates and locations of upcoming Council meetings are published online, so, please check Council’s website. Residents are welcome to attend Council meetings, and may speak at the meeting on any issue during the 'meet the public' time.
Where will the MidCoast Council’s administration offices and customer service centres be located?
John Turner and Glenn Handford will be based in the Forster office and will regularly visit offices throughout the MidCoast Council area. All existing Customer Service Centres will be maintained, which means you can still call on the same number and visit the same address to conduct your council business.
Postal and email addresses, telephone numbers and website addresses of all three former councils will remain in place for now. Our customer service staff are available as always to take your enquiries:
- Manning Valley – 2 Pulteney Street Taree. Phone 6592 5399
- Gloucester area – 89 King Street Gloucester. Phone 6538 5250
- Forster – Breese Parade Forster. Phone 6591 7222
- Tea Gardens - Myall Street Tea Gardens. Phone 4997 0182
- Stroud - 6 Church Lane Stroud. Phone 4994 5204.
How will the views of residents be heard during the Administration period?
The Administrator has established a Local Representation Committee of councillors from the three former councils to provide advice on local issues and views. Residents are always welcome to attend Council meetings, and may speak at the meeting on any issue during the 'meet the public' time.
There will also be opportunities for the community to be engaged in planning for the future with face to face community meetings taking place across the area Council will develop a community engagement strategy which will allow the community to be heard.
How will MidCoast Council continue to communicate and engage with us, the community?
As we merge to a single Council, our websites and social media will also merge. We will continue to keep you informed through local media, newsletters and community meetings to ensure everyone knows what’s happening at MidCoast Council.