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GosfordHarbour and local MP driving change,  Liesl Tesch. GosfordHarbour and local MP driving change, Liesl Tesch. Featured
21 February 2024 Posted by 


Dare to dream: our world-class destination 
IT’S a Mariners home game at Industree Group Stadium and Liesl Tesch is sitting in her much-travelled e-wheelchair alongside a host of sport and business identities, spruiking the wonders of Gosford and her beloved Central Coast.
Her voluminous red hair, sparkling eyes and flashing white smile add to the theatre of her delivery as she speaks with clarity and passion about her local area and the community she represents.
“It truly is the most beautiful place to live, work and raise a family, and it’s about to go to another level that will ensure the people of Gosford and the Central Coast have a quality of life that is the envy of people around the world,” says Tesch.
“We are all mindful of cost of living pressures, but there is so much happening in and around Gosford and our local community has every reason to be excited and positive about the future.
“There are a number of projects focusing on the health and wellbeing of our community, education, transport, addressing the housing shortage and improving liveability that will truly make a difference.”
Liesl Tesch is a well-known local identity, wearing multiple hats as the State Member for Gosford and the Parliamentary Secretary for Families and Community Services and Parliamentary Secretary for Disability Inclusion.
However, her familiarity in the community stems back to her celebrated past as one of Australia’s finest Paralympians – a 7-times Paralympian no less and a 2-times Paralympic Gold Medallist.
Liesl can be spotted almost daily out and about on the peninsula, chatting away to locals and often wheeling away at pace, an incontrovertible inspiration with her fitness and passion for life. She just happens to talk with as much precision and pace as she wheels.
 “It really isn’t hard to be passionate about the Central Coast. When I was playing sport, I moved here because it made sense to be close to family in Newcastle and also to major sporting hubs in Sydney,” Liesl says.
“I fell in love with the Coast and have never really wanted to live anywhere else.
“I also love representing the people here. Gosford is a thriving, energised business and social community and we are committed to generating jobs on the Coast; the development of key infrastructure; providing quality, accessible health care; addressing the need for affordable housing; equitable access to tertiary education; and looking after our environment and our beautiful waterways.” 
Before offering herself up for public life, Tesch was a champion athlete who competed at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 2000 Sydney Olympics, 2004 Athens Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio Olympics, winning two gold medals for Australia in sailing, and two silver medals and a bronze medal for basketball.
She attended the University of Newcastle where she received a Bachelor of Science and then later a Diploma in Education. Liesl went on to teach at high schools for 20 years including her local public school Brisbane Water Secondary College, Woy Woy.
In 2014, Liesl was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia, one of Australia’s highest honours, for her significant service to sport and promotion and facilitation of sport for people with disabilities.
But since 2017, her focus has been public service as the Member for Gosford and the opportunity to get things done for her community.
Among the key projects that Tesch is most enthusiastic about are:
Health: The Central Coast Health & Wellbeing Living Lab - an innovative, real-life experimentation hub designed to support healthy ageing at home for generations to come;
Education: The new high-tech Gosford campus for the University of Newcastle, which will make Gosford a beacon for young and talented people while generating a significant number of new jobs and attracting more investment in the Central Coast;
Housing: A NSW Government-led strategy to address a chronic housing shortage on the Central Coast, with the target areas being Gosford, Wyong and Tuggerah. This includes following the international trend of bringing social, affordable and private housing together in town centres;
Transport: Improvements to rail services between Gosford and Sydney and Gosford and Newcastle – and an Active Transport initiative for a Bike Path along the Brisbane Water past the Brian McGowan Bridge;
Gosford Waterfront: A once-in-a-lifetime transformational project for the Central Coast LGA. “Gosford is the capital of the
Central Coast and we want the Gosford Waterfront redevelopment to make a real statement.”
Tesch describes the Central Coast Health and Wellbeing Living Lab as “an Australia first, a collaboration between the University of Newcastle and Central Coast Local Health District that will connect our older residents with academic institutions, healthcare providers and local businesses to identify challenges and practical solutions to enhance their lives at home.
“The aim is to allow more of our residents to live satisfying, dignified and independent lives at home as they age.
“The average age of residents on the Central Coast is already slightly higher than other parts of Australia and the number of 85-year-olds is going to triple in the next 10 years, so we are delivering solutions to meet these challenges.
“Work is underway on the University of Newcastle, Australia Gosford campus which will be a game-changer for the Central Coast, with the campus scheduled to open in the second semester of 2025.
“We are moving to address the housing shortage on the Central Coast, with changes in planning legislation to allow for an increase in height and housing density, especially within a 400sq/m circle around railway stations.”
With Gosford sitting pretty on the majestic Brisbane Water, the city’s waterfront already attracts significant attention – showcased to the nation and, on occasions, the world whenever sport and entertainment events are staged at picturesque Industree Group Stadium.
There is major planning work underway to ensure a redeveloped Gosford Waterfront delivers a ‘WOW’ factor for the capital of the Central Coast.
Tesch is as excited as anyone about the potential of the Gosford Waterfront redevelopment but is urging restraint on timing expectations. She is adamant that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redevelop the Gosford Waterfront and that “we need to get it right because we want it look sensational and for the people of the Central Coast to be proud of their capital city”.
“We are currently in the planning stages, bringing parcels of land together under the one umbrella and investing in underwater studies of the geology, with lots more community consultation to come and all options are on the table,” Tesch says.
Central Coast locals already refer to their local venue Industree Group Stadium as #OurParadise, with the stadium little more than a footy kick from the Brisbane Water. But the hashtag is more a reflection on the natural beauty and quality of life on the Coast.
The redevelopment of Gosford Waterfront – with a world-class marina, restaurants, bars, retail outlets and public spaces – will further boost the economy and tourism for one of Australia’s most spectacular precincts.
Arthur Stanley is a senior journalist working across multiple media platforms in news and corporate communications.


Michael Walls
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