Yes, as reported in our columns, and seen on Facebook, it has been an outrageously busy month in Parliament and here at home. On the ‘Parly’ agenda we welcomed Bills including the Child Death Review, which will see an independent Board established to ensure our vulnerable children have greater protection, and the Agriculture and Other Legislation Amendment Bill which increases penalties for those found guilty of cruelty to animals. On the other hand, two bills were unsupported, not from the good intent, but from either a lack of ‘equity’, or a replication of legislation already in existence.
As an Independent MP I am allocated roughly six speaking spots in a sitting year where I can tackle topics on behalf of Noosa, and usually it is highlighting areas where we can do better as MPs and Government. However, this month, it was wonderful to shine a light on some of our incredible home-grown firefighters, fire detection and firefighting companies, as well emerging talent coming to FireTech 2020 later this year. The diversification of our economy is moving at a rapid pace, and there are many aspects that I would love to share, however cannot as yet. Soon. Soon!!
From the Chamber and beyond
Earlier this month I visited the Mon Repos Turtle Centre in Bundaberg as part of a public works inquiry for the Innovation Tourism Development and Environment Committee aka ‘ITDEC’. It was time well spent with QPWS staff, scientists and volunteers to see how they have overcome the challenges of combining conservation, tourism and education – knowledge we can utilise for the newly announced Cooloola Great Walk Ecotrail. To witness the Mon Repos team’s ‘little charges’ make their first journey to the sea, regardless of the lightning, mozzies (monster ones!) and torrential rain, was magical. 🙏
Conversations we need to have
There are many questions I ask of Government, residents and our communities, as part of encouraging ‘conversations we need to have’. I recently asked for your thoughts on the Queensland Productivity Commission’s recommendation to decriminalise cannabis for personal use arising from their report on imprisonment and recidivism. In speaking with many of our ‘frontliners’, addiction is a disease, and should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal one. I was alerted to a comment on my question that inferred I was promoting acceptance of drug use which could not be further from the truth, I am questioning current systems and the reality we are confronted with. Drugs (both prescription and illegal), alcohol, gambling and other addictions are tearing families and communities apart and contributing to the next conversation we need to have. Violence.
As I have said before, whether you call it domestic or otherwise, violence in any form cannot be tolerated. Over the last 2 and a half years, I have been working with victims, their families, our frontliners and organisations, and have seen the impacts of violence on our communities. Last month we felt another tragic loss. A mother and her three children horrifically murdered. It was not only this MP who shed tears, grieved and raged privately through frustration, we saw a collective outpouring from communities across QLD and Australia.
We all want to see an end to this terrible violence in our world through whatever means it takes. Changes to legislation, better education, identifying and addressing the contributors, system flaws and gaps are needed. We can only do this when we can have conversations without fear of retribution or persecution. To identify, analyse, and address the contributors to violence, without blame and by understanding the context, will take every single one of us to look at what our contribution is. Every day, I see forms of intimidation and anger within members of our community towards each other, yes, including on pathways, our roads and on Facebook. We can, and must do better. 🙏
On the homefront
On a totally different front, how proud I am of what our community continues to achieve! Congratulations to Phil Jarratt and his team, sponsors and supporters for 7 years of ‘hard yakka’ with Noosa now declared a World Surfing Reserve! We also celebrated our very own female artists at a packed Cooroy Butter Factory to start off International Women’s Week, met with inspirational youngsters who are recipients of the Noosa Chances Scholarships, watched as our sports men and women shone at the Sunshine Coast Sports Federation Annual Sports Awards, and saw what can be achieved by our volunteer organisations in so many realms. The hosting of the Pakistan and West Indies female teams by Tewantin Noosa Cricket Club, the very impressive construction of the Sunshine Beach Surf Club… the list goes on!
I even managed to sneak into the Railway Gallery when I did a ‘roadie’ with Minister Bailey to check out the Pomona Railway Station precinct works (fabulous!), progress on Six Mile Bridge #7, the Cooroy Noosa/Beckmans Rd roundabout and funding for those hot spots on the Kin Kin Range Road. Even though not officially in the Noosa electorate, the Cooroy intersections as well!!
Grants and Funding Announcements
Active Clubs! this month awarded our sporting clubs across the electorate, from beach to bush, coast to country, nearly $40,000 worth of grant funding to assist with training and equipment. Congratulations everyone and keep up the fabulous work! From Noosa Boardriders, to Little Athletics, the Masters Swimming Club, to Pomona Bowls Club, you are all deeply appreciated for your works!
Don’t forget, the GCBF Round 104 is now open. For more information or to apply, please head to: https://www.justice.qld.gov.au/initiatives/community-grants
From the Grapevine
The Grapevine takes many forms, including my inbox! This month hot topics has been the draft Koala Habitat Mapping and the response from Minister Dick regarding the draft Noosa Plan. Firstly, our koalas. This QLD-wide mapping was developed in consultation with local councils, stakeholders and the Koala Advisory Council. Noosa increased overall its protected areas by some 19,000 hectares, however there was approximately 800 hectares taken off existing mapping as these were determined as not meeting the criteria as they were within suburban areas or had an existing exemption from 2014. I will continue to work with our koala advocates, Council and the Department on this, and will post updates on NOOSA 360.
Now to the Noosa Plan. As a State MP, it is inappropriate for me to comment on local government policy. It is up to Council and elected Councillors to determine with the community what goes where! However, the ‘Plan’ must be signed off at a State level to ensure it is in line with State planning regulations, or what is termed ‘state interest’. Having been contacted by concerned residents, my role was to ascertain with the Minister responsible that the process was adhered to. As reported, the Minister has approved the Plan, subject to conditions which are in the public domain. Council, after the elections, can adopt the Plan once they meet those State conditions, can work and negotiate with State regarding those conditions, or oppose these conditions and demonstrate why they are not viable, legally or otherwise.
For the 30 years I have lived here, this is the second planning scheme I have seen drafted, and both have caused conflict. For every Bill, issue, policy and undertaking at any level of Government, there will be opposing viewpoints. That is healthy, and vital. What is important is that this conflict and ensuing debate be respectful, communications and consultation timely and coherent, and that we move forward by working on what unites, not divides us. This through acknowledging that our diverse points of view are based on individual experiences, aspirations and current circumstances, that lead to our own unique perspectives and perceptions. This is not to be feared, and should be embraced as it is how we come to that ‘common ground’? #unitedvoices #diversity
As an end note. The other condition imposed by the Minister was regarding affordable housing. Given that this continues to be one of the historical issues from our workers and industry that needs these workers, our over 55’s, and our youngsters, that no one has questioned, or contacted me regarding, has me perplexed. Short term lets and our koalas incited action, however regarding housing? #curious
Parliamentary Speeches and Questions
Recent Questions on Notice (QONs) can be found here on the Parliament page on my website.
- Community Based Sentences – Parliamentary Debate Speech – 20 Feb 2020
- Police Powers and Responsibilities – Parliamentary Debate Speech – 19 Feb 2020
- Child Death Review Bill 2018 – Parliamentary Debate Speech – 5 Feb 2020
- Noosa Firefighting Technology – Adjournment – 5 Feb 2020
- Political Donations Speech – Parliamentary Debate Speech – 4 Feb 2020
Have Your Say
To see all areas open for community consultation click here.
- Public consultation on Gel Blasters and other Replica Firearms – Closes 12 Mar
- Vehicle access permits in Queensland recreation areas – closes 13 Mar
- Draft standard conditions for new cropping in Reef regions – closes 7 Apr
- Annual report 2018-2019 feedback survey – closes 26 June
FREE Community Trailer & Marquee hire:
Please call the office on 5319 3100 to book.
Connect – 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 as well quarterly in the Cooroy Rag, Forest Star and Cooroora Connect. In NOOSA 360 at SandyBolton.com you will find helpful links, as well current bills and committee reports. #stayinformed
Noosa Farmers Market – Sunday 15 March
Until next month, think. Not only how we can do better, but how our own perceptions, and perspectives, are contributing to the violence, hurt, as well alternatively the wellbeing of our families and communities. I would love to hear from you, either ‘out and about’, or via that ‘grapevine’… my inbox. And don’t forget!! Check out our ‘renovated’ website and NOOSA 360 at www.sandybolton.com, with the results of the 2020 community survey now uploaded, which we will converse on next month? Always good fodder to chew on!!
PS. Our move? Yes, Shoey and I are now river dwellers, with a family of pythons, ‘maggies’ possums and the biggest roos ever, however still not unpacked! As part of the move, I had to graduate to a car that could withstand floods, king tide ferry frenzy and hands-free phone capability! So, if you think you have not seen me and my little car, with my ‘face’ around town… think again. I have been ‘incognito’ whilst I find a spare minute to get the ‘face’ back on… and yes, it is the same face as there was no time to get a new wrinkled one! 😊#falseadvertising?