A stormy first meeting of the amalgamated Mid Coast Council has followed revelations that the administrator put in charge of the Gloucester former CSG battleground has ties to a coal mining company.
John Turner is the chairman of the community consultative committee for Whitehaven Coal.
An angry meeting of the forcibly amalgamated Gloucester, Great Lakes and Taree councils yesterday, fronted by the administrator, was shut down by angry protesters yelling ‘undemocratic’, ‘leave now’ and ‘out, out, out’.
A video of the meeting, circulated on YouTube by Dayne ‘Frackman’ Pratzky, shows a noisy but peaceful protest, with the administrator eventually announcing he would abandon the meeting and adopt all the matters of business unilaterally.
‘These people have not allowed us to go through the business papers debate and I’ve now adopted the business papers,’ he said.
Mr Turner then left the meeting, followed by council staff.
A member of the Knitting Nannas, who had a substantial presence at the meeting, then announced ‘Mr Turner has left the building’ to popular acclaim.
Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge defended the community’s opposition to its appointed new leader.
“We know that John Turner was appointed by Whitehaven Coal, effectively helicoptered in by them to run the committee to try and as best they can neuter community opposition to the expansion of their coal operation,’ Mr Shoebridge said.
‘The mid coast community are quite rightly insulted that their council has been handed over to the Chair of a number of committees run by the coal companies overseeing the Maules Creek and Boggabri mines,’
‘There is no evidence, no mandate and no democracy in any of the amalgamations that Baird is forcing through, and communities simply will not accept this.
‘Chaos and disarray has dominated Mike Baird’s forced amalgamation process, and looks like it will only continue as residents see red over the loss of their local democracy,’ Mr Shoebridge said.