A long-standing stoush between two Illawarra MPs over renaming the ‘station formerly known as Flinders’ has taken another turn, after an independent agency rejected a bid to call it Shell Cove station.
Shellharbour MP Anna Watson said a ruling by the Geographical Names Board of NSW, which found the name ‘‘Shell Cove Station did not meet the guidelines as the station was located outside the suburb of Shell Cove’’, meant the NSW government and Kiama MP Gareth Ward should ‘‘swallow humble pie’’.
‘‘The arrogance of the NSW government, the Minister for Transport and the Member for Kiama Gareth Ward has been palpable on this issue,’’ Ms Watson said.
‘‘The minister and Mr Ward have to now swallow an ample serve of humble pie, dished up by one of the NSW government's own independent agencies.
‘‘This is precisely what happens when a local MP, who really should know much better, jumps the gun, acts before thinking, with no consultation whatsoever beyond a few trusted Liberal Party hacks.
‘‘Gareth Ward misled his own minister on the renaming of the station and he ought to be completely embarrassed for his folly.’’
Last year, Mr Ward announced the new $39 million railway station would be renamed Shell Cove following what he said was ‘‘a strong community campaign’’ and evidence it would help support local tourism.
However, this was opposed by Shellharbour council, who wrote to NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian expressing its disappointment over the lack of consultation regarding the move.
A heated exchange in NSW Parliament followed as Ms Watson described Mr Ward as: ‘‘all over the place like a free-range chicken that is pecking at everything’’, in reference to his involvement in federal, state and local council issues.
Mr Ward replied to Ms Watson: ‘‘At least ... I am not running around like a chicken with its head chopped off.’’
Ms Watson said the NSW government should now go back to the drawing board and consult the Shellharbour community on the new name of the railway station
The Geographical Names Board has invited Transport for NSW to submit a revised proposal.
Guidelines for the determination of place names can be found at gnb.nsw.gov.au
More to come.