As we approach the silly season (council elections) we should reflect on the contributions those councillors who are standing for re-election have made over the last five years.

Our esteemed Mayor has had a rather up and down time. His major focus has been on the development of the Masters building.  I am not going over old ground as the Mayor and some councillors look at the building through rose colored glasses , but you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. His performance over the last two years has been less than satisfactory and I can only highlight some of his failings.

His control of the council meetings has been appalling; he has continued to allow Councillor Roberts to attack certain Councillors, particularly Epov when he asked questions and put forward motions. This can be verified by listening to the Council meetings.

The Mayor needs to explain to the people of Taree why 1100 of them will be receiving a Christmas present of increased domestic waste charges of between $45 and $100 dollars due to Taree escaping theincesed charges levelled at everyone else. The council has held back these extra charges until after the upcoming Council elections.

Under the Mayor economic development has gone nowhere and the so called economic development board has not met for many months.

Mr West has alienated the local service clubs over the Australia Day fiasco. The business community is frustrated with his attitude towards them.

Perhaps the Mayor can explain to the people of Wingham why work has not started on the Wingham Library even though the tender was let nearly 6 months ago and it appears they are now recalling for tenders on this project.

Perhaps the Mayor can explain why the staff numbers are down in compliance planning and  why there are no suitably qualified project managers in the Liveable Communities Section. 

Last but not least we have the Bight Cemetery issues which still have not been finalised.

In his desperation to get re-elected he has joined the Liberal party which will please most people at Forster Tuncurry.

Now for the deputy Mayor who relied heavily on the well-respected  Dr David Keegan to get elected. She was Chairperson of the Economic Development Committee which has folded and achieved very little and she has been on the Internal Audit Committee that has hardly been seen. Rumors from inside the local Labor party branch indicate that she is not popular in the branch.

Councilor Troy Fowler, who as a first time Councilor has struggled to understand his role of a Councilor he admits that he struggles with understanding council finances and we know he doesn’t like Illawarra Flame Trees, but has taken a position on the Internal Audit Committee.

Councillors Smith and Hutchison have tried hard but at times have struggled with some items on the Council agenda. At least Councilor Smith treats most Councilors with respect and she must be embarrassed with the continued attacks on Councillors Epov and Bell.

Last but not least is Councilor Roberts, whose behavior at many council meeting is deplorable and the Mayor is very slow to chastise him. He is the longest serving Councillor and he has had somewhat of a checkered career in Local Government. The question much be asked is his dynasty coming to an end, as the drums of discontent seem to be beating in the Tea Gardens / Hawks Nest area. Councilor Roberts is heading up claytons National Party Team, they are not a so called  political team but have “National Party Values” which could be code for pork barreling and the watering down of the MidCoast Council’s Climate Change policies, so could we end up with wall to wall coal mines in our area and massive developments.

At last we come to Councillors Epov, and occasionally Bell, who battled along manfully under the constant attacks from their fellow councilors. Epov asked the hard questions that the other councillors and the senior staff don’t like.  Epov is the only truly independent councilor on council.


Neil Hannington


(Former General Manager MidCoast Water.)

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