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Byron Shire
March 21, 2023

‘Coal miners’ mate’ now running Gloucester

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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.


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  1. What better evidence could there be that big business is emasculating government at all levels. You have ex merchant bankers running Australia and NSW and not showing one hint of remorse or embarrassment at this shameful charade of “local government”.

    This is just the beginning! Neo liberals are being parachuted into local governments as either GM or Administrator. Local council functions are being privatised. Workers and services slashed.

  2. Knowing John personally and knowing the FACTS of how he is ACTUALLY engaged to independently chair the mining CCC’s, it’s an absolute disgrace the way he was treated. He is someone who has been employed with the appropriate level of administrative skils to handle what is a very difficult process. Not many people would have the courage to do what he’s doing.

    It’s frustrating to see so many people who have allowed themselves to be led by false reports and rumours.

    • I don’t know the man. I’m sure he’s kind to children and doesn’t kick his dog but I nevertheless question the integrity of anybody wanting to take on the role of an administrator under these circumstances. The process is quite clearly undemocratic. If residents had wanted, or voted for council amalgamations they would not have had to ‘force’ the amalgamations. The issue for me is no longer about whether the amalgamations were a good idea. It’s the process. One person, whoever they are, making unilateral decisions about our communities is not democratic.


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