Where to start? This has certainly been the month of problematic processes, insufficient consultations, and the dichotomy between ‘needs versus impacts’. On top, my interns from UQ are just about to flee the nest after 13 weeks, and I look forward over the coming months to sharing their completed works with you!
After back to back Parliaments, and an ITDE Committee trip to attend regional public hearings for the upcoming Great Barrier Reef Bill, many questions were raised on the ‘whys and wherefores’ of much that we do. We legislate or put processes in place to address an issue, however at times it appears that the issue itself could have been addressed if there were directed, relevant, grass roots resources in place. Alternatively, elongated processes and legislation are designed to minimise impacts of what is expected in today’s society, however then become an issue in themselves through poor translation, communication or consultation.
Examples? One being the proposed flight paths and air space usage over Noosa. The processes involved have covered some years, with an Environmental Impact Study, consultations and approvals completed in 2016. Current changes to these within that EIS has demonstrated the volume of residents unaware of the original plans and consultations, highlighted by a current consultation that has raised many questions. Even though airspace is a Federal matter, we are working with the groups formed in response, and advocated to Air Services Australia, the Air Noise Ombudsman, Federal MP’s and the Federal Minister for Infrastructure on residents’ concerns, and to question and seek reviews on the processes involved.
L-R: ANZAC Day @ Cooroy, Tewantin & Pomona – Lest we forget ; Welcoming our newest Australian Citizens @ The J.
Another has been the potential closure of one of our medical clinics, and I have been thankful at the ‘12th hour’ for the assistance of the Primary Health Network (PHN) to assist in developing a course of action with the community to ensure that this clinic remains open. Even though again this is Federal domain, this impacts those that I represent, and again I question the processes and communications involved. What constitutes effective consultation? The Cambridge English Dictionary gives the meaning of ‘consultation’ as being “the process of discussing something with someone in order to get their advice or opinion about it.”
Discussion requires having an initial form of communication. This needs to be effective, and targeted, in order for the recipient to receive, with an avenue in which to respond, and have questions answered in a timely manner. Meetings? Mail outs? Emails? Media – social and otherwise? SMS alerts? Even with the range of communications now available, it is obvious we still have a problem in ‘getting the message out’. At a public meeting it was highlighted that we still have many residents that are not online, do not like to hand over their mobile numbers or email addresses for newsletters or alerts, and anything in any ‘box’ that looks like junk mail is binned. The alternative? Registered mail, direct phone calls, or as suggested, a return to the A4 flyer on community notice boards?
L-R: Pomona Heritage Day ; Commemorating Irene Longman, 1st female MP ; With submitters at GBR Public Hearings
However, one successful avenue that we have seen this month is ‘community communication’, which has been demonstrated by residents who become aware, and then shared. In the case of the flight paths – they made flyers, door knocked, rang around and then formed incorporated bodies, hosted meetings and created Facebook pages to raise awareness. From this, many were able to lodge submissions that otherwise would not have. With the clinic, and as I write from Parliament, there is a meeting between community representatives and PHN and from that, updates on actions will be shared to the community via Facebook, and those at the public meeting who provided email addresses.
In summary. Regardless of the outcomes of current efforts, as a community we have learnt much over the last month. Moving forward, we need to work on improvements in consultation at all levels of Government, which tomorrow in Parliament I will highlighting in an Adjournment speech. Also we need a ‘Noosa’ methodology – an agreed avenue of communications that all residents subscribe to that provides a ‘heads up’ from organisations, residents, Government and advocacy groups; on matters that matter. Ideas?
L-R: Cooroy Fusion Festival Volunteers ; Opening the Envirobank Depot ; @ the RDA famous Scone Off!
Prominent issue updates and discussions posted to Noosa 360 in summary include:
• Queensland Corrective Services Victims Register
• Safer Buildings Program – extension deadline
• Tougher legislation for killers
• Pricing review of the Container Refund Scheme
• Safety measures for K’gari (Fraser Island)
• Sunshine Coast Airport flight paths
• Landholder reimbursement during regotiations
• Power bill savings
Please visit Noosa 360 for all updates including our latest discussion topic ‘Sharing of Space’.
Jump to our Parliament page here and click on “all speeches” to see the full list which includes this month:
• Revocation of Yurol & Ringtail State Forests
• Consultation – Flight Paths & Parliamentary Committees
• Criminal Code & Other Legislation Amendment Bill
• Health and Wellbeing Queensland Bill
Recent Questions on Notice (QON’s) are as below and you can click onto our Parliament page here and click on ‘Questions’ to see the full list which includes:
• Ice addiction
• Short term rental accommodation
• Container refund scheme
• Athletes subsidies and support
Projects / Initiatives / Your Say
Community Trailer & Marquee: Please call the office to book on 5319 3100.
Have your say: to see all areas open for consultation click here.
Electoral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 Submissions close on Tuesday 21 May 2019 at 12:00 midday.
Local Government Electoral (Implementing Stage 2 of Belcarra) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 Submissions close on Tuesday 21 May 2019 at 12:00 midday.
The proposed new flight paths for the Sunshine Coast Airport include the southern tips of our electorate. For more information click here and go to the Facebook page for “Flight Path Forum”. Currently the most appropriate avenues to lodge your concerns are with our Federal Members: Llew O’Brien MP at email@example.com or Ted O’Brien MP at firstname.lastname@example.org or The Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, The Hon Michael McCormack MP at Michael.McCormack.MP@aph.gov.au and the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman
Grant search tools:
Noosa Electorate Office Reminders
Our monthly newsletters can be viewed by clicking here, and stay updated by ‘liking’ our Facebook page. Monthly columns are in Noosa News and Noosa Today, Coolum Advertiser and at SandyBolton.com where you will find helpful links, as well current bills and committee reports. To catch up on ‘Hot Topics’ or participate in a discussion forum register for Noosa 360.
To finish – some more food for thought – needs versus impacts. Climate change (CC) is one example where governments are working to try to resolve, which in itself can cause further impacts. An example? As CC modelling is developed, changes to planning schemes are being implemented to mitigate and alert, which in turn can become; constraints and costs to residents, potential loss in property values, and possibly, some expensive court battles. The upcoming Great Barrier Reef Bill seeks admirably to restrict impacts on the reef, however will in turn impact on farmers already working within very strict legislation and extremely small margins to grow food for our communities, which results in higher food prices, or increased cheaper imports? Both outcomes have impacts on Queenslanders. And, as we strive towards renewables, the reliance on gas as part of the transition is a whole other discussion in itself.
As one Professor from UQ recently said – “this is hard.” And the only way to deal with ‘hard’ are facts, knowledgeable discussion and debate, effective consultation and communications; from Governments and from the people that we represent in order to resolve challenges. Hard, yes. Achievable, yes. However, it takes all of us to accept our contributions to the dilemmas faced.
L-R: Palliative Care – You Matter! ; Meeting with farmers during GBR hearings ; Diabetes QLD
Stay warm and as always – I look forward to your thoughts, with the current discussion on 360 ‘Sharing Spaces’ now open!
Until next month,