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Motor registry closure plans meet with protest

Services NSW has announced that it intends to close the Woy Woy Motor Registry Office in Victoria St on Saturday, August 8, and a wave of protest has started.

Member for Gosford Ms Kathy Smith said she was fighting to have the decision reversed.

She has started a petition which is available to sign in her Woy Woy office.

"We will keep rolling with the petition until people stop wanting to sign it," Ms Smith said.

Local retailers are making the petition available in their outlets and residents are taking copies to circulate in their own neigbourhoods, Ms Smith said.

"The nature of the Peninsula is that many of its residents are ederly and after a certain age they have restricted licenses that only allow them to drive within a five kilometre area," Ms Smith said.

Peninsula Chamber of Commerce is also opposing the closure.

"This is totally unacceptable and means the loss of a valuable public service shop front that caters for over 35,000 people on the Peninsula," said Chamber president Mr Matthew Wales.

"We are told that the motor registry is to be merged with the new Services NSW facility in Gosford leaving local residents without any access to RMS services on the Peninsula," he said.

"Staff were only advised of the RMS's decision on Tuesday, May 12.

"The local business community is completely shocked by this decision which has been made without any community consultation whatsoever.

"For as long as I can remember, the Peninsula has had a motor registry and it absolutely baffles me why the NSW Government would shift the service all the way to Gosford."

Mr Wales said he considered the current Woy Woy office to be a community service that provided convenience to a large local population and particularly the elderly.

"At a time when we are trying to improve local services and keep people off the already congested road system, this decision is completely at odds with community expectations," he said.

"Woy Woy and the Peninsula do not need less government services. We need more. So the decision to close the motor registry is ridiculous."

The Chamber will be making urgent representations to the NSW Government to have the closure postponed with the view to a review of the decision, he said.

Shadow Minister for the Central Coast, Mr David Harris, has also spoken out against the closure.

According to his office, the community will only accept either a reversal of the decision or its own service centre in Woy Woy at the existing registry site.

Service NSW has claimed that Gosford and surrounding areas were "reaping the benefits of the one-stop shop service centre which opened at Gosford's former motor registry site in October 2013".

Operations director Mr Graham Tobin said that, in line with its mission of increasing services and reducing duplication, it made sense for current motor registry operations at Woy Woy to be relocated to the Gosford Service NSW service centre.

"We've spent a long time looking at how to offer the best services across the Central Coast," he said.

"Given the significant overlap of customer catchment areas, it's logical to concentrate face-to-face customer activity at Gosford.

"Service NSW is an entirely new service, combining a host of government transactions from one convenient location. Sites have to be chosen carefully to cater for all customers.

"By providing our services from the nearby Gosford location we can guarantee the community of the Central Coast a higher standard of service and greater access to these government services.

"The Gosford site was also chosen for its large capacity and access to other services, allowing customers to combine a visit to the centre with shopping or other activities.

"The Woy Woy site isn't suitable for such a centre because it can't accommodate the Service NSW footprint," Mr Tobin said.

"This would impact on our ability to deliver quality and speedy service for the full suite of transactions we offer."

Mr Tobin emphasised that customers wanting to complete government transactions also had convenient and "unprecedented" on-line and 24/7 phone access, meaning most transactions could be done off-site at times that suit customers.

Plans are underway for more Service NSW service centres to open at Wyong, Wallsend and Toukley.

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