Central Coast council reports ignorant and discriminatory, says Gordon

Wyong and Gosford Councils had been ignorant and blatantly discriminatory in their draft submissions to the NSW Central Coast Regional Plan, according to prominent Indigenous leader Sean Gordon.

The CEO of Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council and Chairperson of the Barang Regional Alliance said the two reports were littered with words like “jobs” and “development” but both organisations had ignored the single largest contributor to the area’s future economic growth and largest private land owner on the Central Coast – Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Mr Gordon said Wyong Shire Council’s submission referenced Darkinjung in one paragraph at the bottom of page 37 of its 48-page glossy document. He believed the “seemingly intentional” omission clearly taints the submission and the leadership of the Council.

Gosford City Council failed to recognise the Land Council anywhere in their 13-page report, which was quite alarming considering the substantial number of Aboriginal cultural heritage sites there were in the Gosford Local Government Area, and the recent Land and Environment Court decision on the Calga Sand Quarry proposed expansion, Mr Gordon said.

Both Councils had been negligent, ignorant or just blatantly discriminative bordering on racist, he said, as there was no other explanation he could think of.

Darkinjung was currently going through Wyong Council’s gateway Development Application process for rezoning on applications that will create economic stimulus within the area to the value of $920 million plus.

“We have recently paid $1 million in Section 94 payments to the Council and are about to follow up with a final payment of another $500,000 corresponding to our Menindee Ridge, Blue Haven development,” Mr Gordon said.

“After four years of consultation, we have recently finalised the details of our estimated $13 million Guruwarang Waters development at Macleay Drive, Halekulani.

“We have been working with Gosford City Council to develop a cultural mapping tool to ensure that developments such as Booker Bay don’t continue to happen where a significant burial site and midden site has been severely impacted through a Complying Development application.

“To put this omission in perspective, the NSW Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Aboriginal Economic Development had recently sought out Darkinjung and sat with us together in our boardroom seeking feedback and input on how to improve planning laws to encourage Aboriginal participation in economic development. They clearly recognise Darkinjung as leaders within the space and want “to do with us” and not “do to us”.

“While we appreciate this genuine engagement and recognition from the State Government, Wyong and Gosford Council continue to give us lip service at best.

“Principles of Co-operation’ agreements are only words on paper if there is no practical and demonstrated commitment. We want more than words, in fact we deserve more than words.”

“Darkinjung welcomes the amalgamation of both councils as this will provide us with a clean slate to develop a genuine relationship with the new entity based on mutual respect and understanding,” Mr Gordon said.

The National Indigenous Times sought comment from both Wyong Shire and Gosford City Council on the matter but they did not reply.


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