Port Macquarie-Hastings

New South Wales, Australia

Hastings LGA NSW.png
Location in New South Wales
Population: 72696 [1]
Density: 19.72/km² (51.1/sq mi)
Established: 1993
Coordinates: 31°26′S 152°54′E / -31.433, 152.9Coordinates: 31°26′S 152°54′E / -31.433, 152.9
Area: 3686.1 km² (1,423.2 sq mi)
Mayor: Peter Besseling (Independent)
Council Seat: Port Macquarie
Region: Mid North Coast
State District:
  • Port Macquarie
  • Oxley
Federal Division: Lyne
File:Port Macquarie-Hastings logo.png
LGAs around Port Macquarie-Hastings:
Walcha Kempsey Tasman Sea
Walcha Port Macquarie-Hastings Tasman Sea
Greater Taree Greater Taree Tasman Sea

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is a local government area in the mid north coast region of New South Wales, Australia.

The area is located adjacent to the Hastings River, the Pacific Highway, the Oxley Highway and the North Coast railway line. Major population centres in the local government area are Port Macquarie, Camden Haven, Wauchope, Lake Cathie and Kendall.

The Mayor of the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is Cr. Peter Besseling, an independent politician.[2]

Towns and localities[]

Towns and localities in the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council are:


At the 2011 Census, there were 72,696 people in the Port Macquarie-Hastings local government area, of these 48.1% were male and 51.9% were female. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 3.3% of the population, slightly higher than the national average. The median age of people in the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council area was 47 years; some ten years higher than the national median. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 17.8% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 24.7% of the population. Of people in the area aged 15 years and over, 52.4% were married and 14.7% were either divorced or separated.[1]

Population growth in the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council area between the 2001 Census and the 2006 Census was 6.68%; and in the subsequent five years to the 2011 Census was 6.23%. When compared with total population growth of Australia for the same periods, being 5.78% and 8.32% respectively, population growth in the Port Macquarie-Hastings local government area was generally on par with the national average.[3] The median weekly income for residents within the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council area was slightly below the national average.[1][4]

At the 2011 Census, the proportion of residents in the Port Macquarie-Hastings local government area who stated their ancestry as Australian or Anglo-Saxon exceeded 83% of all residents (national average was 65.2%). In excess of 64% of all residents in the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council area nominated a religious affiliation with Christianity at the 2011 Census, which was higher than the national average of 50.2%. Meanwhile, as at the Census date, compared to the national average, households in the Port Macquarie-Hastings local government area had a significantly lower than average proportion (3.6%) where two or more languages are spoken (national average was 20.4%); and a significantly higher proportion (93.7%) where English only was spoken at home (national average was 76.8%).[1]

Selected historical census data for Port Macquarie-Hastings local government area
Census year 2001[3] 2006[4] 2011[1]
Population Estimated residents on Census night 64,146 68,430 72,696
LGA rank in terms of size within New South Wales
% of New South Wales population 1.05%
% of Australian population 0.34% steady 0.34% steady 0.34%
Cultural and language diversity
top responses
English 33.4%
Australian 32.8%
Irish 9.5%
Scottish 7.7%
German 2.8%
top responses
(other than English)
German 0.3% steady 0.3% steady 0.3%
Italian 0.2% steady 0.2% steady 0.2%
Dutch 0.2% steady 0.2% steady 0.2%
French 0.1% steady 0.1% steady 0.1%
Spanish n/c n/c increase 0.1%
Religious affiliation
Religious affiliation,
top responses
Anglican 33.1% decrease 31.3% decrease 29.4%
Catholic 24.2% steady 24.2% increase 24.7%
No Religion 11.5% increase 14.5% increase 18.1%
Uniting Church 8.4% decrease 7.2% decrease 6.0%
Presbyterian and Reformed 5.6% decrease 4.9% decrease 4.5%
Median weekly incomes
Personal income Median weekly personal income A$361 A$447
% of Australian median income 77.5% 77.5%
Family income Median weekly family income A$679 A$1,008
% of Australian median income 66.1% 68.1%
Household income Median weekly household income A$891 A$837
% of Australian median income 76.1% 67.8%


Glasshouse controversy[]

On 27 February 2008 the Minister for Local Government, Paul Lynch, dismissed the Council and appointed an administrator, Dick Persson. The dismissal of Council was made after alleged mishandling of a project initiated in 2001 to build a cultural and entertainment centre, known to locals as the Glasshouse.[5] The project, initially a joint venture with the management of the neighbouring shopping centre, Port Central, was initially expected to cost the Council A$7.3 million, but by late 2007, despite the centre not yet having opened, the costs had blown out to over A$41.7 million, with interest repayments likely to extend the Council's liability to A$66 million. On 27 July 2007, a full public inquiry was announced by the Minister for Local Government, which reported back in February 2008.[6] It found that the Council had failed to provide appropriate financial and project management and had lost control of the costs, that the project costs had harmed the Council's ability to provide services and amenities to the community, and that the Council's "communications management strategies" had resulted in inadequate consultation with the public or appropriate regard to their concerns. The outgoing Mayor, Rob Drew, was critical of the process throughout, maintaining that errors had been made and misinformation had been accepted as fact; however, the New South Wales Urban Task Force, a property development lobby group, believed the dismissal served as a warning to other councils to stick to "core responsibilities". In 2009 it was revealed that the Glasshouse would cost ratepayers around A$6 million a year to run.[7]

Current composition and election method[]

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is composed of nine Councillors, including the Mayor, for a fixed four-year term of office. The Mayor is directly elected while the eight other Councillors are elected proportionally as one entire ward. The most recent election was held on 8 September 2012, and the makeup of the Council is as follows:[2][8]

Party Councillors
  Independents and Unaligned 9
Total 9

The current Council, elected in 2012, in order of election, is:[8]

Councillor Party Notes
  Peter Besseling Independent Mayor[2]
  Robert Turner Independent Elected on Besseling's ticket
  Adam Roberts Independent
  Lisa Intemann Independent
  Justin Levido Independent Elected on Besseling's ticket
  Geoff Hawkins Independent Elected on Besseling's ticket
  Trevor Sargeant Independent
  Michael Cusato Independent Elected on Roberts' ticket
  Sharon Griffiths Unaligned

Past Mayors[]

Councillor Party Period in office Notes
Rob Drew 2003–2008 [7][9]
Wayne Richards 1998–2003 [9]
Frank Harrison 1995-1998
Wayne Richards 1998-2003
John Barrett 1991-1992
Bob Woodlands 1985-1991
Ray Cooper 1992-1995
John Sterndale 1983-1985
Norm Matesich (OAM) 1974-1976 and 1981-1983
'Mac' (C.C.) Adams Elected 1968 to Port Macquarie-Hasting council then followed elected mayor.


Local government in the Hastings region started with the passage of the District Councils Act 1842, which allowed for limited local government in the form of a warden and between 3 and 12 councillors to be appointed by the Governor. Between July and September 1843, 28 such entities had been proclaimed by Governor George Gipps. The Macquarie District Council, the 8th to be declared, was proclaimed on 12 August 1843, with a population of 2,409 and an area of 10,174 square kilometres (3,928 sq mi).[10] Due to various factors, the District Councils were ineffective, and most had ceased to operate by the end of the decade.[11]

After the enactment of the Municipalities Act of 1858,[12] which gave the councils more authority and which allowed for residents to petition for incorporation of areas and also to elect councillors, the town of Port Macquarie, population 984, petitioned to be incorporated as a municipality twice: in 1859 and again in 1867; but on both occasions, counter-petitions from other residents prevented it from being incorporated.[13] Finally, on 15 March 1887, the Port Macquarie Municipal District was proclaimed, with the first elections on 25 May 1887 electing James McInherney as the first mayor.[14]

The Local Government (Shires) Act 1905 (NSW) enabled the Shire of Hastings, based in the town of Wauchope, to come into being in June 1906, in time for elections in November 1906. The first Shire President was James O'Neill.[14]

In 1981, the two councils were amalgamated to form the Municipality of Hastings, with Norm Matesich becoming the council's inaugural mayor. In 1991, the council moved into its present premises in Burrawan Street, Port Macquarie. With the enactment of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW), which changed the responsibilities of the Mayor and Councillors, the Hastings Council was created. In 2005, the name was changed to Port Macquarie-Hastings following a community survey, showing that many people thought that the new name would better reflect the area.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d e Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Port Macquarie-Hastings (A)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Port Macquarie-Hastings Council - Mayoral Election". Local Government Election 2012. Electoral Commission of New South Wales. 14 September 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (9 March 2006). "Hastings (A)". 2001 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Hastings (A)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "Council sacked over cost blow-out". ABC News (Australia). 27 February 2008. Retrieved 27 February 2008. 
  6. ^ Willan, Frank. Port Macquarie-Hastings Council - Public Inquiry - Inquiry Report Volume 1. Government of New South Wales. ISBN 1-920766-69-3. 
  7. ^ a b "Task force says council sacking a warning to others". ABC News (Australia). 6 March 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2008. 
  8. ^ a b "Port Macquarie-Hastings Council - Summary of First Preference Votes for each Candidate". Local Government Election 2012. Electoral Commission of New South Wales. 16 September 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Tisdell, Lisa (26 August 2003). "Rob Drew new mayor of Hastings". Port Macquarie News. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Larcombe, F.A. (Frederick) (1973). The Origin of Local Government in New South Wales 1831-58. Sydney University Press. pp. 208–209. ISBN 0-424-06610-6.  See also Historical Records of Australia (Series I), xvii, Introduction, p.12.
  11. ^ Merivale, Herman (1928) [1861]. Lectures on Colonization and the Colonies. Oxford University Press. pp. 651–653. 
  12. ^ 22 Vic No. 13 (Imp), assented 27 October 1858
  13. ^ Larcombe. p. 274. 
  14. ^ a b c "History of the Council". Port Macquarie-Hastings Council. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2008. 

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