COMMUNITY FUNDING: Central Coast Council mayor Jane Smith.
COMMUNITY FUNDING: Central Coast Council mayor Jane Smith.

Council tackles grants, homelessness and a mine challenge

IN ANOTHER big month for Central Coast Council, more than $420,000 in grants have been awarded to community organisations, taking the total for the financial year to over $1 million.

Council has also fixed the annual fees for each councillor at $29,970, a 2.5 per cent increase, in accordance with the maximum recommendations by the NSW Local Government Remuneration Tribunal.

Mayor Jane Smith will be paid $107,466 per year and Deputy Mayor Chris Holstein $38,314.

Central Coast Council has been classified as a Regional Strategic Area by NSWLGRT, in recognition of its population size and range of urban and rural settlements.

"We certainly have a big job to do now we are a major region in our own right with a population of 335,000 and growing,” the mayor said.

Part of that job is tackling homelessness, with council agreeing to make urgent representations to the State Government to set up an assertive Outreach Team for the Central Coast to proactively deal with the issue of homeless people sleeping rough in council parks and reserves and in cars.

"This is a real issue on the Coast and we must show compassion, understanding and care for these most vulnerable members of our community,” Cr Smith said.

"Council will work with all levels of government and key community organisations to find a real and lasting solution to this growing problem on the Coast.”

She welcomed community organisations taking advantage of the funding opportunities available through council to help make their big ideas happen.

This included four groups sharing $14,834 for smaller projects under the Community Support Grant Program, 12 sharing $98,141.50 to deliver innovative activities that celebrate the region's character and diversity under the Community Partnership Grant Program, and 17 sharing $311,265.75 to deliver activities that foster a sense of community, build capacity, strengthen the economic base, enhance quality of life and protect and enhance the Coast's natural qualities.

"Council cannot do everything ourselves and these grants build community capacity and give local groups the funding to deliver services and quality opportunities for our growing community,” she said.

Last month council also agreed to provide $200,000 to the Australian Coal Alliance, to engage experts in its legal challenge against the Planning Assessment Commission's consent to the Wallarah 2 mine, with the mayor saying council would continue to stand with the community in opposing the mine due to the significant threat to the region's water supply.

For information on the Council's Community Grants Program including upcoming grant-writing workshops, go to www.centralcoast.nsw.gov.au/grants.


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