To say that February has been outrageously busy would be an understatement. From vibrant community happenings to the first Parliamentary sitting week of the year, meetings with Ministers, advocates and organisations, speeches to create equality for equitable decisions, as well the ongoing frustrations in communications and misinformation? With 4G going down, Telstra works (grrr!) and yes, that famous Facebook ‘ban’ that saw this MP shut down alongside the QLD Department of Health, and a host of vital services, the frustrations has led to a simple reality. We cannot be left without alternate communications hence why we are setting up post alerts via our website as a backup should this ever happen again. We will not be vulnerable to decisions of others. To subscribe head to www.sandybolton.com. 😊

L-R: The Backpack team head to school! With our youngest innovators #epac 👏; Our Noosa ‘chappies’.

From the Chamber and Beyond

The first parliamentary sitting of the year saw the reasons why we struggle to get resolutions. An example? A motion for a CLA inquiry into the Estimates process. As you know, I have sought an independent review on this into both our Committee and Estimates processes, especially given our Committees are in essence a ‘replacement’ of the Upper House. That this motion was not supported by Government concerns me, as there is nothing to fear in seeking greater efficiencies as mentioned in my Statement of Reservation for my LASC Estimates Committee Report. In Federal Parliament there is bipartisan support for an overhaul of what happens in the Chamber, demonstrating it is not just State opposition and cross bench MP’s seeking change.

With the assistance of my new intern, we will continue to work on this as we did with addressing cross bench inequity. And yes, the Independent Remuneration Tribunal delivered its ruling last week, which means that myself and other cross benchers will finally have equitable staffing as part of delivering better outcomes for our communities and the broader Queensland state. 👍With the passing of a Bill to extend the emergency powers regarding COVID, the undelivered speech I wrote was simple and reflected the disappointment of many submitters regarding consultation with our communities. Given the ongoing impacts of border closures and quarantine to so many, this was important. Our Chief Health Officer and Government has done a fabulous job; however, we are now no longer in the emergency phase, and your voices should be heard in this journey to recovery.

As a co-chair in the newly established Parliamentary Friends of First Nations Peoples, I look forward to welcoming our Kabi Kabi to Brisbane as part of showcasing incredible local business, food and initiatives, as well the message of unity. We are all Queenslanders and Australians, living in an incredible country, and need to move beyond the past which saw tragedies and suffering regardless of origin or gender, into making it better for all into the future. 🙏

The mad dashes from Chamber had a focus on the issues impacting our country villages, Noosa North Shore, our river, the revocation of land for the Pomona Men’s Shed, and our housing crisis. Updates are at Noosa 360 as I have run out of room!! Yes, it was a big week, and I did not even get to our Committee, which deals with multiple inquiries, including the Youth Justice Bill with submissions now open at www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-committees/committees/LASC/inquiries/current-inquiries/YJandOLAB2021

L-R: Q&A’s with our youngsters!; JP award ceremonies; Pomona & District Chamber of Commerce meeting

From the Inbox

COVID-19 related matters did not abate last month, with the unexpected announcements of hotspots in Melbourne and New Zealand. At the time of writing, QLD borders have opened to Greater Melbourne. For all updates, www.covid19.qld.gov.au. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has commenced for those in a high priority group (phase 1a), with the vaccine hub for our region based at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. More information is available at www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/protect-yourself-others/covid-19-vaccine. Q&A’s on the website do not contain information regarding queries on mandatory requirements, however at a recent teleconference with SC Regional Health we were advised that currently there are no mandatory directives, and we have submitted a Question on Notice to the Minster regarding concerns on behalf of our services and businesses.

Incidents at Teewah, and north of, have disappointedly continued with irresponsible drivers of concern. Changes have been made to camp site bookings at Teewah Beach as part of improved safety and management, and I continue to work with the Department, Ministers, and the Cooloola Teewah Working Group, with meetings resumed this month, on the remaining issues surrounding poor behaviours and volume. I have said very clearly that this year is about responsibility, accountability, and consequences. Our community has clearly stated ‘enough is enough’. We will no longer accept excuses; however, suggestions of a ‘blanket’ banning is not fair to the vast majority that do ‘good’. We need to target offenders, and the integrated system between QPS and QPWS sought will enable this.

TMR has advised that the development phase of the Six Mile Bridge #7 Project has commenced with preliminary flood modelling investigations in preparation for a design start. In addition, design procurement activities are currently underway, including the tender process for the design contract, which is expected to be awarded in the coming weeks.

In addition, the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process for the Noosa River Stakeholder Advisory Committee is officially open, a collaboration between MSQ and Noosa Council, to provide objective advice and recommendations towards the sustainable use, conservation and management of our and its catch river. In my language, to finally sort those issues we have put forward!  www.noosa.qld.gov.au/environment-waste/environment/rivers-creeks.

What can I say about our ongoing inappropriate volume of heavy haulage in our country villages? Advocacies to the Premier and Ministers have not delivered a ‘magic wand’, not unexpected given the investigations undertaken. With Council’s legal action, and our request for a review of the Environmental Authority that is no longer ‘fit for purpose’, I am appreciative of the efforts of our police, and TMR, to ‘patch and catch’ during this time. This situation has demonstrated how our systems, policies and legislation can let our community down. Angry? Yes. Defeated? Never!

Another crisis? Housing for workers, and our retirees, many who have dedicated decades to our community.  I thank the Department of Housing and our residents who have assisted enormously in efforts, including making available rooms in their house for rentals.  Our Housing Action Group is working rapidly on both short- and longer-term solutions, and I have met with State Planners as mentioned surrounding the constraints for second dwellings, infrastructure charges and other contributors to the current situation. This is not an easy ‘fix’ as this crisis is a result of decades long ineffective action. We cannot abandon our fellow much loved Noosans by saying move elsewhere.

As always, I have run out of space. Stay updated via  www.sandybolton.com/noosa360/ . It is easy to use! Just type into the search bar which Noosa issue you are after, and the most recent post is at the top. Posts for this month included housing, heavy haulage vehicles, Cooloola Great Walk, Teewah, Lake MacDonald Dam Upgrade, shark nets and more. If you cannot find what you are after just call us on 53193100 or email noosa@parliament.qld.gov.au.

L-R: At the Cooroy depot with Minister Bailey; A very virtual Llew O’Brien MP!: The Youngcare Big Lunch

On the Homefront

The month began in the most appreciative of ways, with award presentations for two wonderful Noosa volunteers receiving recognition for 25 years of JP service each, and from there, many site visits. Sunshine Butterflies for the opening of their new training and education room and that ‘virtual’ Federal MP Llew courtesy of members of the IT program, and Minister Crawford dropped by for some animal therapy and serious Noosa innovation as well!

Our youngest made me proud, with their very cool plastic reduction initiative called #Epac, developed right here in our backyard, with Carters grandma making the eco cloths! 👏🙌 I have my ‘pac’, and you can grab yours at outlets including the Noosa Tourism info centres. I especially love my expandable water bottle, and coconut bowl 👍😊

Back to school time was made official with the Noosa Daybreak Rotary Club banding together with local business and Bendigo Bank for an initiative to assist our student’s get ‘packing’. Let us not forget the famous hundred ‘Q’s from our youngest at St Thomas More putting forward awesome queries on all things Government, including tree clearing. How I wish all schools would take up the opportunity to ‘grill’ their MP, as our NextGen are our future, and inquiring minds are part of the solutions we seek 💖

It was good to join Minister Bailey (TMR) and Nicklin MP Rob to announce the introduction of a new ECTS system on the Sunshine Coast rail line. This provided a great base for advocacies on rail duplication to Nambour, as well as the rail shuttle between Gympie North and Nambour to connect with services. Cheeky opportunity? Always!!

Grants and Funding Announcements

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

The QLRC review update for Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) is here. with announcements that the amended date may experience a delay.

Parliamentary Speeches and Questions

Recent Questions on Notice (QONs) can be found here. The latest speeches can be found below:

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

L-R: Chinese Lion Dance; A beautiful start to the Parliamentary year; Palliative Care QLD ‘Lunchbox’ session

Have Your Say

COASTAL HAZARDS ADAPTATION PLAN– Noosa Council has completed a draft Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan, which is now open for comment until 5pm 8 March 2021. More information is available at https://yoursay.noosa.qld.gov.au/coastal-hazards-adaptation-plan

Current Government public consultations can be found at www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au/gi.
Current Committee inquiries can be found at www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-committees/inquiries

COVID-19 Recovery Assistance Links

More information on COVID-19 recovery support by visiting www.sandybolton.com/covid-19-business-support/

Mobile Office

The mobile office will be a little different this year to hear from as many residents and businesses as possible! The next will be held at the locations below on the 20th of March. If you want a ‘drop in’ please let us know on 5319 3100 😊

  • Pomona: 1:00-3:00pm

Office Reminders

Our office is open 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday, so please stop by and say hello!  For community organisations we have the photocopier, marquees and trailer available at no charge for your use, though you will need to book? 😊

We also have those fab Energex ‘lights’ to give, and Anzac Day memory booklets available for those not on Facebook.

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 Star, Cooroora Connect and Eastern Beaches News.

And Finally….

May everyone take a leaf from our youngest ‘Noosans’, who through a Q&A session last week asked about the development of Stage 2 at Noosa Civic, and the facts surrounding the tree clearing. Nobody wants, or supports destruction of our habitat, however as part of protecting there must be understanding. Especially around the inconvenient truth surrounding the role each of us play in this.  The designated ‘use’ of this site has its history in a Master Plan developed in 1995 to accommodate identified future needs and endorsed in two planning schemes. Over the last 40 years our community, organisations and Council made provision for loss of habitat through designations via biodiversity overlays, refuges and purchases including the Yurol Forestry. This to ‘offset’ many times over, and we now have 45% under protection.

As an MP the decisions of Councillors is not my domain, however I have written about this in my Noosa Today column as the targeting of individuals is inappropriate, and the harsh words need to be replaced with efforts as to where we can all do better. This includes what we ask for, as we often do not realise that our requests and actions have direct implications. I did say at the beginning of the year that ‘responsibility, accountability, and consequences’ would feature?  Please, if any questions or concerns, contact our Councillors or myself for information to avoid being a cog in the ‘misinformation’ wheel!

As per usual a sign off hug 🥰 Please remember that even though we are now in the vaccination rollout stage, it is not time to become complacent with physical distance and hygiene measures. Keep up your fabulous efforts, we are nearly there!!👍

Sandy 🙏