PROTESTERS were out in force at the second official MidCoast Council meeting held last Wednesday in Taree.
With standing room only, a number of people opposed to the merger waved placards, chanted and called-out during Administrator John Turner’s opening remarks.
Members of the public were given the opportunity to have their say with 14 people addressing Mr Turner and Interim General Manager Glenn Handford.
Concerns were passionately raised and included objection to Mr Turner’s appointment, lack of a democratic process and disappointment at the treatment of former Council representatives.
Former Greater Taree Mayor Paul Hogan was first speaker and said the formation of the MidCoast Council was a “takeover of local democracy.”
“Since proclamation, the Administrator and Interim General Manager have behaved like they are conducting a Great Lakes takeover,” he said.
“The proclaimed Deputy General Managers have been made redundant and all activities focus in the former Great Lakes office.”
Gloucester Knitting Nanna Carol Bennett said the forced merger was undemocratic.
“Gloucester Council have demonstrated that they are capable of standing alone,” she said.
“John Turner’s appointment as Administrator is a direct insult to the people of Gloucester and he should be stood down immediately.”
Other speakers included former Great Lakes Councillor Linda Gill and Cathy Posselt, wife of former Greater Taree Council General Manager.
The protesters applauded and cheered each of the speakers in support.
Speaking with the Media last week, Mr Turner said the meeting allowed people to put their views forward in a democratic way.
“People have got strong views and they’re entitled to speak up,” Mr Turner said.
“Those people who were against merger had their say and they will probably continue to want to have their say. That’s the democratic process and that’s the way we should do it.”
Following the speakers, the Council meeting got underway and successfully covered all business items on the agenda.
By Daniel SAHYOUN