A month of extremes which seems to be becoming the norm?! We had wonderful ceremonies and celebrations, Order of Australia Medals (OAM) awarded to Noosa’s Dr Susan Davis OAM and David Dunworth OAM, as well sad passing’s of much-loved Noosans including Cecily Fernley, Cathie Newing and June Colley. An extremely feisty Parliament, with ongoing frustrations related to COVID even with relaxation of some restrictions including masks as of March 4, were soon forgotten in the emergencies of our floods. As I sit here writing waiting for Noosa River to peak, I send our deepest gratitude to our response teams as well emergency volunteers, agencies, Noosa Council and all who assisted, accommodated and offered through this time. Now with crossed fingers, good weather predicted will see relief, and the clean ups can begin which even at my home, is going to be huge.

Housing and its affordability continued to headline, with many commentators adding to the confusion in what is actually not that hard to resolve when the ‘blame game’ stops, and we, as a community, understand our role in this? As I first spoke on this some 7 years ago when I was a Councillor and have worked on this through the Housing Action Group for the last year, I will again ‘untangle’ in an upcoming Noosa Today column as there is not enough space here! It will then be uploaded to Noosa 360, and I hope all will read as part of moving forward. 👍

L-R: From beach to bush –  flood devastation across our electorate and within our communities😢

From the Chamber and Beyond

The first parliamentary sitting of the year was not sedate by any means🙄 With integrity matters headlining, COVID debate was sparse. My Question without Notice (QWN) to the Premier regarding mandates, that have no rationale given international visitors arriving, received a standard ‘will review’, and my request for an outline of the strategy going forward into future waves and variants was simply met with a reference to the AHPPC, which was disappointing. You can read this and other QWNs on my website.

We hope that our ongoing appeals to the Premier and Minister Farmer regarding urgent financial assistance for our businesses is heeded, to prevent further closures and job losses in our hospitality and tourism industries. Some form of surety is needed as the impacts are ongoing including to mental and physical health.

My Parliamentary Committee, Legal Affairs and Safety, has just completed its inquiry into serious vilification and hate crimes in QLD, with the report now available. It is shocking, what has and is being perpetrated to our fellow human beings across communities and online. Contributing is a lack of understanding and compassion around differing cultures, beliefs, perspectives, and situations, including vaccinations. Whilst we have an amazing and supportive community, I have seen unnecessary divisions. Empathy for others with opposing viewpoints does not weaken you or your beliefs and has enormous benefits, including decreasing those divisions both in your family and community! It is also one of the most important social contracts we can have with each other. Something really important to consider. Are you a contributor, bystander or changemaker when it comes to vilification?

There are multiple Parliamentary Committee inquiries currently open, all of which can be found at here.

Lastly, a big welcome to this semester’s university intern, Shayne, who will be working on those reply-paid envelopes that you think are going directly to the Electoral Commission, yet do a detour? Even though the Attorney General and ECQ refused our request for transparency by political parties in the return address, we are determined that this ‘hoodwinking’ comes to an end!

From the Inbox

COVID matters continue to fill our inboxes, with mandates that restrict without financial assistance creating extreme ongoing duress for our businesses, workers, families and community, so please support where you can.

Understandably there are many questioning the introduction of a Bill to further extend emergency provisions beyond April this year. With the CHO talking about transitioning from pandemic to endemic, is this necessary? Please send your views to the committee inquiry by 4th March here.

It has been an extreme time for many residents with the deterioration of haulage route roads between Kin Kin and Pomona. TMR inspected the road on both 14th and 15th February in response to further safety issues and undertook some temporary measures. However wet weather has hampered their ability to work on these, and now with the flooding, a temporary 10 tonne limit has been put on the road once it opens. Further assessments will be undertaken, and possible major repairs as soon as the road is dry enough. Noosa Council’s court case is to be heard 2nd – 4th March, and we look forward to a result that delivers much greater safety.

There have been many last minutes enquiries on the Grass Tree Court development in relation to Glossy Black Cockatoo habitat, the original and amended development application reports, and the Minister’s ability to issue an Interim Declaration under Section 18 of the Vegetation Management Act. As this is a previously unused power, we are waiting on a full brief from the Department of Resources and will update as soon as received.

With much vibrant discussion online regarding Maritime Safety Queensland’s (MSQ) seeking of public feedback on a proposal to permanently reduce speed limit from the Noosaville boat ramp to the river mouth, it’s important that everyone has their say directly to MSQ, more here.

The Cooloola Great Walk has caused further concerns, and even though the Poona site is not in our electorate, we have been working with the Department to ensure that these are addressed and will update shortly.

As always there is too much to share that we cannot fit in! Regular updates are posted to Noosa 360, including Cooloola Great Walk, Old Ranger’s House Pomona and results from the Noosa MP Community Survey. As well, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and email our office on noosa@parliament.qld.gov.au or phone 5319 3100 if you any require assistance 😊

L-R: Our newest Aussies; Maroochy at Parliament House; Express Recycling Battle of the Schools

On the Homefront

Meetings of all kinds were fruitful in so many ways! Online or face to face, it was wonderful to see/hear so many of the wonderful achievements and programs in our community, as well the more serious efforts via the Kin Kin Roundtable, or Noosa Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) which over a week were held twice daily. Zero Emissions Noosa (ZEN) has also been extremely busy, and are seeking new members to assist!

A session with Express Recycling’s Dion, Josie & Nikki revealed not only the incredible statistics of the litter ‘war’, but also the upcoming ‘Battle of the Schools’ fundraising program, and progress in efforts for inclusion of bottles currently not accepted under legislation including wine and milk. May we follow South Australia ASAP! 💪

After 4 years of development, skill sharing/utilisation and connecting, the Noosa Women’s Shed now needs a long-term home of their own! It was fabulous to catch up to discuss progress as well business case and strategy to move into the future. To build, repair, network and be self-sufficient is not only handy and saves dollars and the mental health benefits are enormous. 🔨 So if you have space, please contact noosawshed@gmail.com.

Having met up with Chris and Babette from Volunteering Sunshine Coast, who currently have over 6500 volunteers in our communities doing incredible work and providing on ground teams during disasters, please consider bringing your much needed skills and expertise to an organisation or cause, by getting in touch direct or via their website. So many fabulous causes including Katie Rose Cottage and PTSD Dogs who have put the call out, sporting clubs, environmental groups, Noosa Hospital, SES, Red Cross and many, many more!

It was a joy to welcoming Inspector Jon Lewis back home after nearly 2 years on the road. We caught up on issues impacting our community, and the role of prevention, mitigation and education heading into the future, including collaboration around the Hastings Street precinct which has seen over Christmas unacceptable behaviours. 😠

L-R: With Inspector Jon Lewis, Noosa Women’s Shed and Volunteering Sunshine Coast

Grants and Reminders

Congratulations to successful Community Benefit Fund round 112 recipients, Noosa Bridge Club and Noosa Integrated Catchment Association for Friends of Kinaba. With the ‘super’ round now open below, start writing!

More opportunities are available:

For further State Government grant opportunities see the QLD Government Grant Finder or Grants Guru.

Parliamentary Speeches

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

Have Your Say

For a complete list of Queensland State Government Consultations, including on Incident and Disaster Warnings in Queensland, head to Get involved

Mobile Office

We have had to reschedule due to the impacts from floods and will update via FB and in our next newsletter.

Office Reminders

Our office is open 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday, except during public holidays or lockdowns.  For community organisations we have the photocopier, marquees, and trailer available at no charge for your use 😊

Connect

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

 

L-R: Paparazzi on Noosa North Shore; Street side drop ins; Our newest intern Shayne!

And Finally….

It is strange to talk of anything else when we are still battling an emergency, however we must go back to COVID for a moment! With further easing of restrictions, it is important to stay vigilant if you wish to avoid or are vulnerable, as this ‘bug’ is now part of our lives. With projected future waves and variants, as well a flu season in amongst, our virus ‘toolkit’ is still essential. Handwashing, distancing, masks etc are standards even when not mandated, and ATAGI recommend boosters to increase protection, with Novavax now providing further vaccine choice. 💉

These current floods have reinforced more than ever to BE READY! We had many avoidable emergencies from residents who had not prepared with an evacuation plan and kit, including essential medications. As we saw sadly elsewhere in QLD, our emergency crews and volunteers can lose their lives in efforts to save ours. We need to ensure that we do our bit to keep them safe when we are cut off with flooding, by having what we need for at least a week, and to NEVER drive through flood waters! More information can be found at Get Ready Queensland.

Until next month, stay safe and for those who have the big clean up ahead, we will keep posting information on Facebook to assist. Noosa Council’s Disaster Dashboard is invaluable for everything so keep it in your favourites!

Again, thank you to everyone. As always how blessed we are to live in this amazing community! 💖

Sandy 🙏