Port Stephens Councillor Geoff Dingle give his view on merger

Councillor Geoff Dingle from Port Stephens Council offers the following Letter to the Editor to News Of The Area

Port Stephens Council is on the cusp of dramatic changes to its electorate status as we head towards a merger which I predict will be with Newcastle City Council.

Currently there is a merger review between Dungog and Port Stephens Councils but plenty of evidence to show that this is a delay rather than a serious alternative based on the Federal election attempting to minimise voter backlash.

Port Stephens Councillor Geoff Dingle
Port Stephens Councillor Geoff Dingle

We will know the amalgamation lottery result in a little over a month and then find out if current NCC and PSC Councilors will be offered roles on an interim advisory panel with a new Council.
The joint Council will be headed up by an administrator for as long as 14 months.

While there is much disquiet in the Port Stephens community about merging with Newcastle much of this is based on fear that Newcastle is financially bereft and dysfunctional, the facts don’t show this at all and Newcastle Council is more concerned that it will have to redirect funds for road and drainage upgrades in Port Stephens to meet current standards.

I predict in a few short years all will be forgotten when waste is collected, roads are repaired and infrastructure continues to be maintained to a reasonable standard.

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The major concern should be the level of representation in Port Stephens which currently has a higher level per head of population than Newcastle.

We could potentially end up with two wards rather than three and as few as two Councilors per ward, a total of four to represent all Port Stephens residents down from the current nine.

They will be busy people with long distances to cover and dramatically larger numbers of ratepayers and residents to represent.

Current stipend, which is very modest the only positive to assist these Councilors will be slight raise in pay when they move to a new status funding level with larger council.

Our future is currently in the hands of the Minster for Local Government and we await his response to a decision that I believe was made as long as twelve months ago.

by Councilor Geoff Dingle, Medowie


2 thoughts on “Port Stephens Councillor Geoff Dingle give his view on merger

  1. Dingle was questioned on Monday night during the Medowie Progress Association, if he supports the Newcastle merger. He reluctantly stated that he was in support of the Newcastle merger.
    Why does Dingle not have the courage to state that in his letter?
    He says there is ‘plenty of evidence’, and the ‘facts show different’, but provides none of this at all. If he has evidence and facts that the community doesn’t know, he should have been informing us throughout the process rather than being silent on the matter.
    The overwhelming majority of Port Stephens residents are against the merger, yet, for some reason Dingle thinks he knows better. That is great representation.
    This will be worth remembering next time we have a chance to vote in our councillors – whenever that will be.

  2. Why is Geoff Dingle not publically stating he is in favour of the Newcastle merger when he was quoted in the latest Medowie Progress Association meeting that he supports it? Is he scared of the public backlash over something that is clearly extremely unpopular within the community.

    Where is the evidence saying the merger is good for the community? The IPART assessment of Newcastle City Council was that it was ‘not fit’ for the future, and should be merged with Lake Macquarie. By contrast, Port Stephen’s Council was assessed as being ‘fit’, and no merger should be considered.

    If the evidence exists, put it out there. You would think that advocates of the merger like Geoff Dingle would be shouting this evidence from the rooftops to advance the merger’s cause. This is because there is no evidence of the merger’s benefit.

    Newcastle has 2.5 times the people, and hence will have 2.5 the number of elected representatives in a new council Port Stephens will play second fiddle forever.

    Why did Geoff Dingle not attend the Dungog Council meeting recently with every other councillor to advance Port Stephen’s cause. Instead he arranged a public meeting at Fern Bay to promote misinformation, knowing full well no other councillors would be there to set the record straight.

    Port Stephens is being fed a dud. We are the cannon fodder of the political backrooms deals in Macquarie St. You would think that Geoff Dingle would stand up for his constituents like all the councillors. Clearly he has other priorities.

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