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An alliance of community groups representing around 200,000 residents, has called for NSW Planning Minister, The Hon Paul Scully MP, to reject a Central Coast Council rezoning that could destroy at least 300Ha of bushland and result in the potential construction of at least 1200 dwellings on conservation land.


“Community opposition is so deep that we have taken the unusual step of paying for a full-page advertisement in our local newspaper so we can send Minister Scully an ‘open letter’,” said Gary Chestnut, Chair of the Central Coast Community Environment Network.

“This is the last stand in a fight that has been going on since around 2011,” Mr Chestnut said. “The residents and ratepayers of the Central Coast are fed up with being ignored by a Council that has been under administration since 2020 and two successive tone deaf NSW Governments.

“We will not, ever, accept the destruction of our green ridgelines which are the visual landscape that gives the Central Coast its unique character.

“We will not stop until we beat this misguided proposal.”

The open letter to Minister Scully, to be published in Coast Community News on Thursday, 11 July 2024, includes a call to action for all Central Coast residents to write to the Planning Minister objecting to the proposal.

 According to the alliance of community groups, if Mr Scully approves Central Coast Council’s recommendation, it will: 

  • Destroy the unique visual landscape, character and lifestyle of the Central Coast, 
  • Eliminate extensive areas of threatened species habitat,
  • Fail to protect local Aboriginal cultural heritage,
  • reck wildlife corridors between National Parks, State Forests and reserves,
  • Devastate the future of the region’s unique, irreplaceable and beautiful Coastal Open Space System (COSS) – a system of scenic bushland reserves owned and managed by the local council since the 1970s which is a one of a kind and found nowhere else in NSW.

 Mr Chestnut said Central Coast Council had already ignored hundreds of submissions and emails from concerned residents opposing this rezoning of bushland, which the council misleadingly described as “like for like”.

“Even more distressing was Council’s decision to ignore advice from the Biodiversity Conservation and Science Directorate (BCS) within the NSW Department of Climate Change, Environment, Energy and Water (DCCEEW).

“The DCCEEW concluded that this planning proposal would have a negative impact on biodiversity in this region and we believe Mr Scully has an obligation to follow the expert advice of his own government.

“The BCS said the conservation land, that council wants to downgrade to land use zones offering less protection and more development, should have the highest level of protection available outside a national park – the C2 Conservation Zone. How can the Minister ignore expert advice from the agency responsible for protecting biodiversity across NSW?

“Mr Scully, how can you wave through a rezoning that is flawed and not supported by the community or your government’s own experts? The BCS recommendation is the only way to protect this land for future generations.”

The groups are calling for the Planning Minister to reject the Central Coast Council recommendation:

  1. Adopt the advice from the BCS to rezone the deferred 7(a) land to C2. 
  2. Protect the Central Coast’s visual landscape, Aboriginal heritage and COSS lands, 
  3. Help to maintain the region’s biodiversity and green spaces,
  4. Retain the unique character and lifestyle of the Central Coast.

The following groups are calling on the Planning Minister to reject the planning proposal and asking Central Coast residents to join their campaign by writing to the Minister objecting to the council recommendation:

Community Environment Network; Central Coast Community Better Planning Group; Friends of COSS; Koolewong-Tascott Point Clare Progress Association; Kariong Progress Association; Macmasters Beach Progress Association; Springfield Residents Association; National Parks Association Central Coast; Peninsula Residents Association; Grow Urban Shade Trees; Copacabana Community Association; Australian Conservation Association Central Coast; Wagstaffe to Killcare Community Association; Gosford Waterfront Alliance; Voices of Central Coast; The Bays Community Association; Ourimbah Region Residents Association, Peninsula Environment Group, Coast Environment Alliance (CEA).


The above alliance needs your support. We need as many people as possible to send their own letters to the Minister for Planning

  1. If your group is not included above let me know, or you know of other groups who may be impacted by this Planning Proposal, please urge them to join the campaign by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  2. Please use they KEY POINTS listed below to write your own letters/emails to Paul Scully and Penny Sharpe as soon as possible – Parliamentarian email contact details below
  3. Please telephone the office of your local NSW State MP (numbers listed below) and request an urgent meeting with your MP about this issue. This is a fresh way of raising the matter with them and ensuring they know the community is concerned. CEN and other groups from the alliance have been corresponding with local MPs about this matter for some time.
  4. Please urgently write letters to the editor of Coast Community News, the Newcastle Herald and the Sydney Morning Herald expressing your opposition to this planning proposal.
  5. CEN will be publishing and boosting social media posts regularly which we need you to share.


Email addresses to distribute to your group members so they can write their own letters/emails – we are aiming for thousands!

  1. The Hon Paul Scully MP

NSW Minister for Planning

Use this form: https://www.nsw.gov.au/nsw-government/ministers/minister-for-planning-and-public-spaces

Or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  1. The Hon Penny Sharpe MLC

NSW Minister for the Environment

Use this form: https://www.nsw.gov.au/nsw-government/ministers/minister-environment-heritage

Or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  1. The Hon Gordon Reid MP

Federal Member for Roberston

It has been suggested Dr Reid will support the campaign and may be able to influence his state peers

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Electorate office phone numbers for your members to call to request an urgent meeting with their local NSW State MP:


  1. Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch MP, 02 4342 4122
  2. Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch MP, 02 4365 1906
  3. Member for The Entrance, David Mehan MP, 02 4334 1012
  4. Member for Wyong, David Harris MP, 02 4352 2711
  5. Member for Swansea, Yasmin Catley MP, 02 4972 1133
  6. Abigail Boyd MLC, 02 9230 3676
  7. Taylor Martin MLC, 02 9230 2985


Emails to send letters to the editor:

Coast Community News, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Newcastle Herald – use this form https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/opinion/letters/send-a-letter-to-the-editor/

Sydney Morning Herald, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



The planning proposal that could see MANY HUNDREDS of hectares of Conservation Land on the NSW Central Coast needlessly downgraded and destroyed.

This is native species habitat - essential for the protection of biodiversity on the Central Coast now and for all future generations.

The Deferred Matters Lands Planning proposal encompasses Conservation Lands that surround and share boundaries with the Central Coast’s unique and wonderous Coastal Open Space System or COSS.

That is exactly why these lands were DEFERRED, over a decade ago; they were not ‘zoned’ when NSW moved to a state-wide set of land use zones; there was no appropriate zone.

The council intended to voluntarily acquire some of the deferred lands and add them to COSS. Remaining 7(a) land was to have a Conservation zone to be perpetually kept as wildlife corridors connecting COSS reserves, national parks and state forests.

COSS lands are beautiful. Thanks to the foresight of the Gosford City Council, way back in the 1970s, a network of natural bushland reserves was created, to be kept as community land in council ownership for passive recreation and conservation.

COSS is the reason why the former Gosford City local government area, now the southern half of the Central Coast LGA, has green escarpment as far as the eye can see, and unique reserves including Rumbalara, Katandra, Kincumba Mountain, Captain Cook Memorial Park and Winney Bay Reserve – loved and enjoyed by residents and visitors.

Many promises were made to residents and rate payers when the Gosford City and Wyong Shire Councils were merged in 2016. We were promised that COSS would be expanded. We were promised a brand new, comprehensive Local Environmental Plan (LEP) with resident consultation to make sure land use zones were appropriate for this special region.

Both promises were broken by the former NSW Government. Now the Council’s Administrator has ignored 230 submissions objecting to the proposal, along with130 emails, the bulk of which were against the Council recommendation and the advice of the Biodiversity Conservation and Science Directorate (BCS) within the Environment and Heritage Group in the Department of Climate Change, Environment, Energy and Water (DCCEEW).

BCS said all deferred matters land zoned 7(a) should be zoned C2 (Conservation). This is LIKE FOR LIKE and the only way to protect this land from development. Rik Hart drank the cool aid on May 28 and accepted the incomplete, biased and misleading information presented by council staff – ironic considering 15 Central Coast Councillors were suspended, then dismissed, for similar behaviour in 2020.

He has pushed through a proposal that will downgrade deferred lands to the C3 and C4 zones which will open them up to unnecessary and inappropriate clearing and development. THIS IS NOT LIKE FOR LIKE and it will take a wrecking ball to our COSS lands strategy.

Fortunately, Central Coast Council is not the final arbiter on this matter. It has gone back to the Department of Planning and Planning Minister, Paul Scully, will have the final say.

We urge Minister Scully to take the advice of his government’s Biodiversity Conservation and Science Group. Refuse Council’s recommendation and adopt the recommendation of the Biodiversity Conservation and Science Group from DCCEEW. We have also written to Central Coast Council Administrator Hart, calling for him to rescind the motion he passed in May. Rik Hart was not given key facts about the Biodiversity Conservation and Science Group advice. Staff failed to address substantial community and expert concerns.

Our request to Ministers Scully and Sharpe is simple:

  1. Do not accept the recommendation of Council staff, as adopted by Mr Hart on 28 May. The recommendation is flawed, not supported by the community or the DCCEEW, and the staff report failed to address key community concerns.
  2. Adopt the advice from the Biodiversity Conservation and Science Directorate within the Department of Climate Change, Environment, Energy and Water which is the primary agency in NSW for our states biodiversity and to rezone the deferred 7(a) land to C2 Conservation. IT’S THAT SIMPLE!
  3. Protect our existing COSS lands and stand up for the promised expansion of COSS so the Central Coast can be a refuge for endangered and threatened species and an eco-playground for future generations.
  4. Help us protect regional biodiversity and regional green spaces as our population grows and densifies.


Contact details

CALL 02 4349 4756

PO Box 149 Ourimbah NSW 2258

FM Building, Central Coast Campus,
University of Newcastle,
Loop Road, Ourimbah,
NSW, 2258


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