The following article was authored by Sandy Bolton MP and published in the Noosa Today on the 22nd of January 2024:

Welcome to 2024, and hasn’t it started fabulously in all ways in true Noosa style with headlines and plenty of Facebook commentary!

First up, we had what seemed to be a fairly innocuous situation, at least initially, at the decommissioned Tewantin TAFE site, however since appears to be something much larger and complex.

This has given lots of ‘fodder’ for another chapter to the book that I have previously threatened to write on the debacle of this site, however before we get to the current events, I will recap with so many new residents unaware of its history.

After a long 10 year journey starting in efforts to overturn the closure decision by a previous government (and no, I am not getting into the ‘blame game’ here!) then transgress the endless protocols involved with the next government, to the devastation when Noosa Council rejected taking the site on, then living every week the frustration of it being caught through its ‘unallocated’ status in a broad Native Title claim across our electorate, you can imagine the grinding of teeth!  Finally, the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process was completed in 2022, with successful proponents waiting impatiently ever since for the finalisation of the Native Title determinations which were scheduled for late last year, delayed to early this year (by Court processes). This to enable commencement of community consultation and remedial works. Yes, we are so close!

Having endlessly written about, posted to Noosa 360, and chased every element, including keeping the successful applicants to the EOI process updated during the delays, complexities, ongoing vandalisms and increasing costs to materials and labour to rejuvenate this site, you can imagine my surprise when alerted to a Facebook post seeking volunteers to clean up the site for those experiencing homelessness. With this site only weeks away from finally commencing its next journey, I contacted the Department of Training to ascertain what was going on. They advised of having no knowledge of this, nor had they authorized entry, and reiterated again why this site is totally unsuitable for anyone sleeping there, as they had many times to our requests over the years to utilise this site in the interim for transportable accommodations. Their reviews showed the site as unsafe due to its fire risk assessments from the surrounding bush, which cannot be cleared due to biodiversity overlays and koala habitat mapping. With housing being a key issue, in our annual surveys we had asked our community whether they would be prepared for these types of overlays to be reviewed to allow clearing for affordable accommodations, with the majority of responders against.

In response I attended the decommissioned TAFE site to find out who was involved in the organisation called ‘Community Village’ and be available to answer any questions regarding the site’s status, why it was not suitable for accommodations, and update on the facts including supports and projects around anyone experiencing or at risk of homelessness in our community.

On arrival, I was confronted with a combination of genuine volunteers who had responded to the Facebook callout in good faith, as well others with an agenda that was confusing and concerning, using Kabi Kabi Elders unknown to our community claiming to have sovereign rights to the property.

Suddenly, we had those from outside our community, taking over this site that we had fought so long and hard for, unbelievable!  This without any consultation or respect for our community, or to any resident experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This organisation has never contacted Noosa Council, myself or any of our fabulous organisations that work tirelessly with residents experiencing hardships, nor could they identify someone here as being homeless. Yes, we had strangers from Brisbane, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast, in a well organised and orchestrated effort, ready with recording devices for their ‘live streaming’ and denying the laws we operate under as Australians. To say I was shocked is an understatement.

Our police handled the situation in a respectful and calm manner, explaining that they could remain on the grounds until an official statement was obtained from the state government, reiterating that should the building be entered, they would be charged with trespassing. By that afternoon government had issued a letter to the organisation clearly stating they had no authority to enter the grounds, and there would be no tolerance for any further trespassing.

And this is where it gets both confusing and complex. We had Kabi Kabi Elders from elsewhere that we have never met, claiming their sovereign right to the site, which is in opposition to the recognised Kabi Kabi Elder claimants in the Native Title process who have worked with this community for years within the framework provided by the Commonwealth. The Kabi Kabi Native Title claim which includes Noosa, from my understanding is one of the last in Queensland, which means we are at the end of decades of claims. Even though those in opposition to the recognised process such as Native Title have been advised to take any concerns through the appropriate Federal channels, with a Royal Commission called for, we have a situation where we are being dragged into something larger than the former TAFE site, or Noosa, under the pretext of ‘homelessness’.

Previously I had thought that those aligned to the sovereign movement, which does not recognise our constitution or the laws we operate under as Australia, was a united movement. Apparently I was wrong.

Having received a letter from other Kabi Kabi Elders with sovereign beliefs distancing themselves from the activities of those involved in this latest effort, I was awakened to the increasing complexity in this. No longer are the efforts of First Nations People divided between those who work within our Commonwealth framework and those who reject it, we also have those that reject it splintered, decrying each other’s ‘lore’ as false. And then in amongst, we have what appears to be a non-indigenous sovereign movement, known as Sovereign Citizens? If you are confused, be assured you are not alone!

During a meeting last year at the Cooroy Hall regarding the Cooloola Great Walk Eco Project, there were information sheets handed out that led to the website of the Original Sovereign Tribal Federation formed in 2010, involving a memorandum of understanding with a fledgling political party, linked to an international Sovereign Citizens movement, which has been reported as linked to the storming of Canberra’s Old Parliament House.  So how is this connected with what happened at our former TAFE site?

According to those who hunt endlessly for information and have been posting to Facebook, there have been reportedly links established to an upcoming meeting by Noosa People’s Council, and links to My Place Australia. This on first glance looks to be a fabulous movement that I would support, as it appears to align to my efforts to move governments to greater efficiency and away from a flawed system that I have outlined in speeches and in this column. However, on a closer look, many aspects lead back to not abiding by our current laws, with an ABC article in April 2023 reporting the My Space structure as an organisation that encourages branches to create a ‘council action group’, whose role is to attend council meetings with the eventual aim to ‘establish constant control over council decisions’.

Ultimately, we do need many improvements in our governance including as I have been working on addressing the flaws on state Parliamentary protocols and the Committee system, the failing of a 2-party system, and the hoodwinking of voters through those postal vote applications which are wrong in all ways. However we need to remedy these in a transparent, lawful manner recognised under Australian Commonwealth Law, even when it does get frustrating such as what we have gone through with this site!

Those who say they are ‘above’ our law are doing every Noosan, Queenslander and Australian a disservice, as there is no hope, especially for reconciliation by disrespecting the framework that gives a cohesive guide on how to move forward. We need to walk together, and can be ‘one mob’, however these types of activities as we’ve just seen under the pretext of assisting homeless people, by faceless organisations and reported subversive movements that create mistrust through ‘disruption’, is not the way.

As of writing, barricades have been placed on the site, with no tolerance for any further activities of this kind. To those who loved walking their dogs through there, we hope this situation is resolved as soon as possible and until then please avoid entering this area.

As I have said, this site has been hard fought for to be reinstated for the benefit of our community, and I will do everything in my power to prevent any further delays to what has been the longest of journeys. This includes writing to Minister McCallum reiterating previous requests to obtain permission for the lawful successful proponents to commence community consultation and stabilising works in advance of the native title determinations.

With the volume of ‘outsiders’ to our community now also ‘spamming’ posts with misinformation such as there was permission from state government, that Council had referred them to Kabi Kabi, and that we have over 50 women sleeping in fear nightly without a place to sleep?  Having contacted Council and been reassured there has never been any such advice, with again state advice that no authority was given, add in that any local resident that contacts my office is offered assistance and accommodation to avoid sleeping rough, the credibility and validity of claims has been established as false. We will now be blocking any further nonsense as we have lost a week of work in this, with it being a government and police issue to manage, not for our office to do so.

Yes, this has been confusing for many, however remember that the Kabi Kabi Elders we have worked with for years in our community, were not involved in the TAFE incident, nor other widely known Kabi Kabi Elders in neighbouring areas. All updates as received will be posted to and you can subscribe to our newsletter at to ensure you are ‘in the know’ on issues impacting our community including upcoming polls such on shark nets during whale migration season.

Now to a couple of quick updates! Regarding the Cooloola Great Walk Ecotourism Project I asked a ‘Question Without Notice’ last Parliament with reassurance provided that they are working on a solution to meet community expectations, and we look forward to updates once Parliament resumes.

On Lake Macdonald, following delays as we have previously reported, Seqwater have released the final design concept for the upgrade of the Lake Macdonald Dam, with early works set to commence in March ahead of major construction mid-2024. For surrounding residents, Seqwater will be doing a doorknock, as well information sessions with dates and locations to be advised so keep an eye on our Facebook page. It is vitally important that the dam wall is upgraded to improve safety for nearby residents and enable greater resilience during flood related events. Thank you to the Seqwater team for their work and all Lake Macdonald residents for their ongoing patience during the planning and construction phases. Further is on Noosa 360 and the Seqwater project team can contacted on 3432 7000 or via if you have any questions.

Have a fabulous month everyone and again, welcome to 2024 which will be invigorating, exciting and full of ‘fodder’ for your dinner table and coffee shop debates!