Welcome to Spring everyone! Longer and warmer days, the joy of blooms and the warming of our waterways and hearts as our lives continue to be disrupted from all angles. Directives, restrictions, vaccine debates, protests and on/offline media that look for the headline and divides, versus what unites. And after much heated debate in Parliament, there is no greater gift than those moments of appreciation.

This includes being able to immerse in the incredible energy of our community on as many occasions as possible. Citizenship ceremonies, book and magazine launches, celebrations and deliberations, ‘think tanks’, Round Tables, meetings for ‘good’ and those many magical ‘Noosa’ moments that are unscheduled!! 😍

L-R: With Tewantin’s pioneering families; PTSD Unity Rotarian style; Advanced manufacturing at SBSHS

From the Chamber and Beyond

This last Parliamentary sitting has been full with some blood pressure raising Bills, fruitful meetings and educational events, followed by our Legal Affairs and Safety Committee Public Hearing into Serious Vilification and Hate Crimes. Horrified is an understatement as to what is being perpetrated in communities across QLD, and the role of social media in the amplification of has clearly demonstrated why platforms must be held accountable for hosting, promoting and enabling.

In between lockdowns due to protestors, the business motion to increase debate time on the extension of emergency powers after our pleas were rejected at Committee, was defeated again in Chamber.  As the ‘Peoples House’, when there is a critical issue where MP’s need to give voice to their communities, it should be a given. This demonstrates again the flaws in our committee processes, and why a review is needed.

Fortunately, I was able to secure a spot via the Opposition halving the allocated speech time per MP, giving me further opportunity to give voice to those who are wearing the brunt of decisions including our small  businesses (You can find my speech here) and state clearly our communities opposition regarding the allowance of NRL teams to enter QLD whilst our own residents were caught over the border. With the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill being debated next sitting, forums with panels of doctors and palliative care nurses both ‘for’ and ‘against’ was appreciated. QLD Future Conversations presented an evidence-based seminar, which articulated through the ‘reliability pyramid’ where quality of information comes from. You can imagine what is at the bottom rung? I have been so proud of the respectful discussions over these last months in our community, and what I saw this week.

Meetings with Ministers and Departmental staff covered the Cooloola Great Walk, the sustainability consultation being undertaken in the Cooloola Recreation Area and Teewah Beach (finally!) the Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan and affordable housing opportunities. Updates available via Noosa 360 .

My MPI speech highlighted the need to continue to fight to ensure our residents do not become increasingly displaced by our housing crisis, though we face many barriers. ‘Tick boxes’ are essential, however when they push communities to breaking point, we need to look at them with a new lens. In addition, my adjournment speech touched on sex education in school. As one of the MP’s who when supporting the decriminalisation of terminations requested greater education in our schools and access to contraception, the statistics including that 70% of our students are utilising the internet for sexual health information, and 75% are not using a condom as part of decreasing the STI statistics, is concerning and needs to be a focus going forward.

There are currently multiple Parliamentary Committee inquiries open, including on oversight of the Family Responsibilities Commission. All of which can be found at  https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-committees/inquiries

L-R: Di Henshall’s Inspired Magazine launch; @Citizenship Ceremony; @Noosa Barbell Club 

From the Inbox

Lockdowns are seriously hard on our businesses, staff and community. Recent advocacies to the QLD Small Business Commissioner and the Premier saw both good and not so good news. Welcomed was the COVID-19 Business Support Grants including for sole traders and progress on insurances. However, there are still ‘gaps’ including ineligibilities which we have gone back to Minister Farmer with cc’s to the Premier and Treasurer regarding, as well spoke about in Parliament. Thank you to all who have assisted in this.

The Queensland Government’s Check In Qld app (and yes, this was also in my speech!) is now compulsory for taxis, limousines and rideshare operators across Queensland. You can find more information, including a Q&A at https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/check-in-qld/for-drivers-and-operators
When updating those advocating for non-lethal shark control methods, support for alternatives must come from our community and we will again include a question in our annual survey which last year saw only 32% of respondents in favour of shark net removal. My recent Question on Notice to the Minister and response on this can be found at  www.sandybolton.com/shark-nets-and-control-measures-update-26-july-2021/

As reported previously, Government has allocated funding in this year’s Budget towards community transport to address the gaps we had identified and advocated about. The Community Transport Program supports residents who are not eligible for other subsidisation to access medical appointments, with information at www.chde.qld.gov.au/about/initiatives/community-transport-program. Should any of the existing subsidies, extended PTSS mapping or this new program not assist, we shall continue our pilot Be: Noosa Connect-SCUH Transport until we have ascertained that no one remains stranded in the system.

As reported to the Kin Kin Roundtable, $6 million has been approved to upgrade an 800m section of Kin Kin Rd, between Williams and Turnbull Rds. Depending on outcomes from ecological investigations, works could commence early next year and take approximately 7 months. Meanwhile, we continue to advocate for funding needed for the identified priority sections as TMR continues to progress detailed design for these. Updates via https://www.sandybolton.com/kin-kin-pomona-cooran-heavy-haulage-update-august-2021/

Stakeholders gathered to provide feedback on the 5 shortlisted submissions for the reuse of the Tewantin TAFE site which included education, sports, childcare/mixed and training/arts/research.  Lack of detail due to the commercial in confidence nature made the task not easy, with many questions both unique, as well common to all. One dominant question, even though outside the scope of the task for that day, was given the site is the equivalent of 14 football ovals, why can there not be a small portion of that utilised to address our accommodation crisis? As explained, this would require community and Council support, as the area outside the building envelope is covered by biodiversity overlays, as well mapped as koala priority area. A big discussion and one that I will open in the coming weeks whilst due diligence is undertaken on the financial capabilities of the submitters as part of the EOI process.

Preliminary works for Stage 1 of the Tewantin Bypass have begun. This includes relocation of the water main followed by major works to build the new roundabout. Throughout the works, lower speed limits will apply, and motorists are reminded to take note of changed traffic conditions and any directions given by traffic control. Thank you to Minister Bailey, after a long journey, we are nearly there!! Though the project is funded by State Government, final design and construction is managed by Noosa Council. For information visit https://www.noosa.qld.gov.au/community/major-projects/tewantin-bypass or call 5329 6500.


L-R: Our awesome Parkyn’s Hut volunteers; Fabulous Noosa musicians; Tewantin TAFE site consultation

On the Homefront

Our community was on fire this month, with so much to report! How fabulous it was to see our youngest ‘Noosans’ pumping their way to the 2032 Olympics at the Noosa Barbell Club. With a grant from the Community Benefit Fund, the Club is fully kitted up and growing fast. To meet juniors Kaiya, Alana and Taj who all won gold medals in the recent Australian National Championships was incredibly inspiring as all ages can participate, even me???  Congratulations to coach Woogie, President Jason and all who ‘snap’ and ‘jerk’, I am so looking forward to watching your journey!

It was such a privilege to welcome our latest ‘family’ additions, from France to Zimbabwe, the UK to NZ during recent citizenship ceremonies. Although only able to attend the first ceremony of the day, it was ‘food for the soul’ and deeply appreciated.  Thank you to the team from Noosa Council for hosting such a wonderful ceremony.

The successful Southeast QLD bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic games presents opportunity for our little ones to dream of gold as well for our businesses and development of infrastructure in our region.  This meeting hosted by our Federal MP Ted O’Brien  ‘brainstormed’ about what a taskforce would look like, and the key messages were for it to be community driven, with unity between all levels of government.

There were a couple of much anticipated book launches, Phil Jarrett’s ‘Place of Shadows: The History of Noosa’ and Sylvia Bannah’s ‘Boreen Point…Definitely Not Just Any Small Town’. It is vitally important for our present, and future, that we look at the lessons learnt from our ‘not so good’, to the ‘really good’ and ‘awesomeness’ that made Noosa arguably the most desired place to live in QLD. Fabulous reads both!!


L-R: Boreen Point Launch; Our new interns; 2032 Olympic Taskforce meet

The work the Tewantin-Noosa QCWA do cannot be underestimated, from advocacy for our community to raising funds for those in need. Speaking on my experiences as a young mother in remote areas, I shared embarrassing, vulnerable and hard moments, as well the intense gratitude of the support, and inspirations I was given by women in the QWCA and beyond in both the NT and QLD. Even though we are not living in the middle of nowhere, at times as a mother or yes, a father, you can feel alone as isolation is not measured by kilometres. Connectivity is everything. Dave from Wellbeing Code AU shared how we all can improve our mental fitness in several ways including having gratitude for what we have, and someone to listen.

The ‘Wombman – An Intimate Geography’ exhibition hosted by Maxine was full of intense soul, joy, hope and beauty. It was an honour to officially open the sharing of our 15 artists, who brought softness, kindness and conversation through ceramics, sculpture, painting, photos and jewellery! It was also wonderful to drop in on new businesses who opened up so we could immerse in their wares including 358 Retro, Khanh with her new Spa, and Gaiungan Gallery. With the exhibition open until September 18, drop in and support local!

Grants and Reminders

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

Parliamentary Speeches and Questions

Recent Questions on Notice (QONs) can be found here. Though there are more to come in 2021, the latest speeches can be found below:

Recent Questions Without Notice can be found here.
Estimates Hearings can be found here.

Have Your Say

For a complete list of Queensland State Government Consultations, including Funeral Price Transparency and the Queensland Women’s Strategy, head to https://www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au/gi/

COVID-19 Recovery Assistance Links

Mobile Office

The rescheduled mobile office will be held at the Noosa Country Show on the 11th of September 10am-12pm. To organise a meeting, please let us know on 5319 3100 😊

Office Reminders

Our office is open 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday bar during lockdown.  For community organisations we have the photocopier, marquees and trailer available at no charge for your use, though you will need to book? 😊

Connect

With so much to share, stay up to date via  NOOSA 360 , Facebook page updates or our monthly newsletters. Columns are in Noosa News , Noosa TodayCoolum AdvertiserForest StarCooroora Connect, Your Local Lifestyle and Eastern Beaches News.

L-R: Boreen Point Launch; Our new interns; 2032 Olympic Taskforce meet

And Finally….

What we have experienced over the past 18 months has cemented the need for respect, kindness and compassion in our community, as well less ‘media’ time social and otherwise, replaced with real connections that are free of keyboard warriors and negativity, and that famous ‘click bait’ that you write to me about. Never has it been so important to unite and focus on supporting each other and our businesses as we continue our journey to a new ‘norm’. Yes, we will have frustrating moments, however whatever we confront we will overcome together as we have proven time and time again. With so much magic in our beautiful home, we are blessed in ways that may not be apparent when we forget to acknowledge it.

Keep up the fabulous work, smiles and ‘pivoting’ (getting giddy? 😊) as well those belly laughs which are an invaluable part of our wellness toolkit!! 👍 And did I say before about both sides of the vaccine debate to keep it where it belongs? As a respectful share, not a judgment, critique or disruptive protest. Personal informed choice is exactly that, and there is no reason in our community for anger on this. As there is room in the 80% vaccine target for those who cannot or choose not to vaccinate. For those who have been frustrated by lack of supply, we have been reassured that more is on its way and wait times should decrease.

PS. Those hug ‘credits’ are burgeoning, along with the ongoing fight between my masks and lipstick smears!

Sandy 🙏