Well done on your efforts to oppose the centralisation of council staff to the Masters site. I know of no-one who supports this move, and present some of the issues that have come up in discussion.
Councils were amalgamated in order to save money, which could then be spent on local infrastructure such as roads, bridges, swimming pools, community halls etc – things for the community. The money was not intended for expensive new council offices such as a re-fitted Masters site. It is not defensible to spend such a large amount on this.
The location of the Masters site in Biripi Way, if used to house all council staff, would cause considerable traffic congestion. This road is already congested in peak times, especially due to the Martin Bridge lights stopping traffic as far back as Purfleet in the morning peak hour. To add the staff from Forster and Gloucester council offices would further aggravate this problem. Even staff coming south from Taree would cause a hold up from the other direction. The only argument I have heard for the move is that it would save travel time – in light of the above it is very hard to understand how this would be the case. Whose travel time exactly??? Everyone has to travel further to get there!
Moving Council staff from Forster-Tuncurry and Gloucester would create a negative trickle-down economic and social impact over time on these towns, with a significant group of relatively young people, in work, being taken out . In the end, only people who lived nearer to Taree would choose to work for council because of the travel involved from elsewhere. The eventual centralisation of council staff would be detrimental to the cohesion and the economies of the council area as a whole, creating a perception that only Taree matters. Many of us are also concerned this would discourage people from the further locations putting up their hands to be councillors, as the distance to be travelled would be a dis-incentive.
As governments realise the economic and social benefits of distributing workforces across communities to ensure their sustainability, decentralisation is actually being encouraged.
It is desirable to keep council staff across the council area in order to ensure the representative nature of council itself, and therefore also to facilitate residents from all areas standing for council. In this advanced technological age it is very hard to understand why this cannot easily be done.
So yes, fix the roof on the Forster Council building, and upgrade the computer systems, but spend the rest of the money on infrastructure for everyone.