This month has seen fabulous progress on our ‘Recovery’ journey, including our accommodation houses once again taking bookings! It has been wonderful to visit our businesses and community groups, who may not have accessed information online nor are connected through the Business Roundtable, to get them ready for our ‘reopening’. Along the journey, there has been both celebrations, as well frustrations through our advocacies during COVID-19, with the majority being addressed though at times a tad slow. There have also been a couple that gave no ‘lead in’ time, bringing their own set of challenges! We have appreciated the ‘wins’ and will continue our efforts on the last ‘bugbears’ including some inconsistencies in relaxations which causes confusion for everyone! The focus is now continuing to work with everyone including our Business Roundtable representatives, Local Disaster Management Group, the broader Sunshine Coast Business Council, and our community to emerge from our ‘hiatus’ in COVID-safe mode. We have a ‘ways’ to go, and still some challenges to face and conquer, however as we have done since the start of the pandemic, we will not only get there, we will thrive!

We are currently submitting to the Inquiry into the Queensland Government’s health response to COVID-19, and encourage you to send your thoughts, observations, recommendations and experiences whether positive or negative here. Submissions close on 3 July 2020, so please, have your say!

From the Chamber and beyond

Parliament returned in an abridged format, with less confusion, more frustration (those famous A-Z motions and omnibus bills) and yes, some headaches. With only 20 members allowed in the Chamber at any point in time, rostering Crossbenchers came with its own logistical nightmares, including the 2-person lift allowance! The Cabinet reshuffle has led to several changes including in Ministerial portfolios, leading to my previous Innovation, Tourism Development and Environment Committee (ITDEC) morphing into the State Development, Tourism, Innovation and Manufacturing Committee. (SDTIMC).

As I had reported earlier, the Budget process will be different this year. The QLD Treasury will be publishing a COVID-19 Fiscal and Economic Review (C19-FER) in September to replace the annual Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Review. Given that MPs did not get opportunity to question Ministers at Estimates, I have made representations on a number of essentials for consideration, including extra funding packages should border closures extend past the nominated July date.

          

L-R: the fab MOW team at Pomona; On the road and ‘ Off the Hook’ in Sunshine Beach and Pomona

From the Inbox

As you know, our inboxes extend beyond emails, letters and voicemails! They include Facebook and Instagram tags, messages and google alerts, which can be invaluable, however unwieldy to manage due to volume, and difficult to ‘track’ and respond. We deeply appreciate our ‘lookouts’ who alert us to major issues, which we can then quickly address with some facts versus fiction?

Now that some ‘healing’ time has occurred after the debacle encountered through the failures of the ECQ at the last elections, it is timely to give thought to improvements to the next one in October. Having written to the Premier on the failings, a number of options are being considered including a full postal vote. At this juncture, it is important to hear further what you think on not only how elections could/should be held, but also the issue of waste and amenity of campaign paraphernalia such as corflutes. With such little time, a Facebook poll will be posted up within the next week, and it would be appreciated if you could visit and let me know your thoughts.

On the Homefront

The news of the closure of the CQUniversity Noosa Campus was tough, which has again brought home the importance of determining our future without being vulnerable to decisions outside of our control. A meeting with Minister Fentiman was had to secure funding in partnership with Noosa Council and Noosa Education and Training Alliance (NETA) for a feasibility study to develop a Noosa Learning Hub. This includes the opportunity provided by the decommissioned TAFE site, amongst its capacity to address other identified needs, including accommodation (think studios above the carparks?). This site, its possibilities, and the journey to get to contract stage which occurred before Christmas, is well known. What is not well known is how ‘caretaker mode’, Council elections, COVID and the ramifications of, have created extra challenges, and I trust these will be resolved shortly. Ultimately, for Noosa to have control of this site will ensure it delivers what our community needs, versus what is determined by others.

There are so many aspects of an MP’s life I have so missed during restrictions, especially events where residents, organisations and businesses congregate! To be allowed ‘back out”, visiting our businesses with information packs, and seeing the results of successful funding applications has been appreciated. This month over $250,000 was awarded, and the first celebratory stop was to Meals on Wheels Pomona to test run their upgraded kitchen. It was also magic to drop into the foreshore and see all the different groups who have been ‘displaced’ from their venues due to COVID. Residents in the sun, with the river in the background… doing the salsa, line dancing, pilates and just enjoying, made me want to join in (which I did to the amusement of all ages!). The message from so many, whether our businesses who are under severe duress, or our not for profits and households, has been how forever appreciative they are of the incredible support received from our community and each other during this time. And they wanted me to send their ‘thank you’ along with many virtual hugs, consider it delivered!

           

L-R: The crew at Sum Yung Guys; empty platform en route to Parliament; with the lovely Annie at Peregian

Have your say

Current government public consultations can be found at www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au/gi.

  • Please note that some public consultations may be suspended at this time.

COVID-19 Recovery assistance links

A handy ‘cheat sheet’ is available on our website, however as always, if you need anything please call us on 5319 3100 or email  noosa@parliament.qld.gov.au.

PLEASE NOTE – Our new Small Business Commissioner, Maree Adshed, specialises in providing support for small business tenants and landlords during the recovery phase, for more information please go to: COMMERCIAL LEASING SUPPORT FOR TENANTS AND LANDLORDS or call 1300 312 344.

Grants and funding announcements

In response to the financial hardship many of our community organisations are experiencing because of COVID-19, we have a one-off “Restart” grant of $500 to assist you to get operational. This may be used as a contribution to access larger grants, for urgent repairs/works, or operational essentials not covered by Council or State grants. Applications will open from June 1 to June 30.

To apply, please contact our office on 5319 3100 or email noosa@parliament.qld.gov.au for more information.

COVID SAFE Active Clubs Kickstart grants now open – State funding of $2,000 is available for sport or active recreation organisations so they can restart and continue to deliver physical activity opportunities. For more information please go to: www.qld.gov.au/recreation/sports/funding/active-clubs-kickstart

For current government grant opportunities see the QLD Government Grant Finder or Grants Guru.

Parliamentary speeches and questions

All speeches can be viewed on our website here or on the Queensland Parliamentary website at: Members Speeches – then select Ms Sandy Bolton.

Recent Questions on Notice (QONs) can be found below:

Recent Questions Without Notice can be found here.

    
L-R: Mother’s Day 2020 with my Ma and Lama Love x; Sunny Coaster Linedancers on the ‘river’ stage!

Mobile office

Mobile offices will be rescheduled shortly as restrictions begin to ease, however, for those I missed on my ‘road trips’ this month, I will be continuing these, so please call if you would like a ‘drop in’!

Office reminders

Great news! We are now allowed to unlock our doors, with COVID Safe distancing and hygiene measures in place. Please assist by not entering if there are 2 residents in the foyer at any time, and unfortunately photocopying facilities are still not open at this stage. However, as always, we are here to help, so  please email us at noosa@parliament.qld.gov.au or phone: 07 5319 3100. If phone lines are busy, please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.

Connect

With so much ‘news’ to communicate, stay up to date via  NOOSA 360 ,  Facebook page updates or our monthly newsletters. Columns are featured in Noosa News , Noosa TodayCoolum Advertiser as well quarterly in the Forest Star and Cooroora Connect.

And Finally…

How quickly we can go from elation to devastation in a couple of days, and vice versa. To receive confirmation on the $27.5 million in funding for our two ‘historicals’ that we have worked so hard on, had me very grateful.  Stage 1 of the Tewantin Bypass (Cooroy Noosa/Beckman’s Roundabout) and the replacement of Six Mile Bridge #7 will start as soon as possible, with both projects scheduled to be completed within two years. This news was sadly offset when the Premier announced that the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill would not be debated in this term, with the recommendations of the inquiry referred to the Queensland Law Reform Commission to produce draft legislation by 1 March 2021. Across QLD, the angst has been overwhelming, and even though the rationale may be sound for the referral, the heartbreak is real for those who rely on us to ensure that their voices are heard in Chamber.

This month we farewelled many of our beloved residents, and it has been so hard that we have not been able to honour them fully as yet, with life celebrations needing to be put on hold until we get to the other side of COVID. However, in her indomitable style, the beautiful Tricia Bradford ensured her last project “Artists at Home – Creativity in Isolation” went ahead, even though she had sadly left us beforehand. To open this ‘virtual’ exhibition for her was hugely emotional, and my heart goes out to all who have lost loved ones during this time. That we have not been able to hug you to us as we normally do has been truly heartbreaking, and we think of you every day.

For all that we face, we will conquer challenges, system failures and divisionary tactics, by working united. We do this by questioning, debating respectfully and putting people, not politics first. Unity does not mean you will always agree with other viewpoints. It means you are prepared to come together for the benefit of the ‘whole’.  Every day, I am so proud to represent you, and the efforts you undertake, vibrantly debating with passion, and compassion. That you are prepared to have those conversations that need to be had.

With empathy, not apathy. Until next month, stay warm and stick to the 1.5!

Warmest regards,

Sandy 🙏