Scot MacDonald
Letter to the Editor - Central Coast Potential
18th Jan 2017
Letter to the Editor - Central Coast Potential
Central Coast Express Advocate
18th January 2017
Dear Sir,
I am looking for forward to 2017 and the opportunities for the Central Coast. The latest employment figures show the Coast is performing strongly. With an unemployment rate of 4.5%, the Coast is actually slightly better than the NSW rate and nearly 1% below the national figure. The participation rate is 67.7% which is above the state and Australian rate. This is important as it means more people are engaged in the workforce and looking for work. The participation rate on the Central Coast has traditionally been low, partly because of an older demographic. Essentially it is a vote of confidence in the Coastal economy. Youth unemployment is trending down, but remains too high at 15%. While the overall employment rate on the Coast is encouraging, I recognise there are pockets of disadvantage and youth unemployment that needs all the efforts of government and the private sector to redress. 
We can always do better. My colleague, Adam Crouch MP , and I are focussed on delivering the Regional Plan. This includes enabling infrastructure to service the community and its businesses, while ensuring the Central Coast remains a premier place to live and its environment remains resilient and diverse. 

We are committed to bringing 300 NSW Department of Finance jobs to the old Gosford school site and they will be complementing the  600 ATO positions Lucy Wicks MP has secured. The massive $340 million upgrade of the Gosford Hospital will be well underway and the Wyong Hospital rebuild will commence its design stage. Over the next few years the Central Coast will be home to some of the best health facilities in NSW. All available to the public. 
Roads will be a priority for me this year. Population growth is undoubtedly putting pressure on the network. We've seen record expenditure by the Baird government on Coast roads, but I want to be sure the planning, funding and building continues. 
There are plenty of challenges. Retail habits and on-line trading is changing the look of our commercial sector. Rapid growth puts pressure on the environment and all levels of government need to think sustainably. The level of domestic violence is just too high on the Central Coast. Police, the Justice system and all the great people that support victims and families are doing a herculean job. We are committing more and more resources and tools to this region and it is a Premier's Priority. But the figures and cost to our society are distressing. Fathers, brothers, colleagues and friends have to set a standard and hold each other to account. Governments and institutions can't turn this around, individuals and communities will ultimately stop the scourge of domestic violence.
The Central Coast is now one of the largest local government regions by population in Australia. Its potential is boundless. I am proud to be part of its development.