Welcome to 2021 everyone!! I trust that you all had a wonderful holiday break, with time spent among family and friends. Happily, I had longed for time with the ‘grandies’ in a lovely ‘staycation’, with a weekend sleepover in our Noosa Country hills, and much local fare to add some Christmas kilos on top of the COVID kilos!! 😊

The first month has been invigorating, and impossible to condense down to one newsletter!  Many highlights, as well a couple of lowlights including the unexpected hotspot declarations that had us scrambling to get adequate testing facilities open on a weekend, and unacceptable behaviours of a minority over on the North Shore and on our river. Thank you to all that went above and beyond over this time. From our businesses to our ‘lookouts’, visitors to our front-line teams who combined infringements with education. You did a phenomenal job and it is deeply appreciated.

The highlights were sensational! Housing project launches, Noosa entrepreneurs sharing their new ‘Noosa Biz’, and the recognition of two wonderful ‘Noosans,’ who received Citizen of the Year awards. Congratulations Maureen Farrington and George Gleeson, and to all our fabulous volunteers who provide more than what many ever realise. In addition, Ron Miekle was honoured in the Australia Day Awards for his services to medicine and radiology. Brilliant news!!

Our Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony was more than memorable. The incredible emotion (yes, I had tears!) and celebrations were topped off by finally being back at the J after 12 months of ‘mini’ ceremonies. And yes, the lamingtons returned, wrapped and flagged! Congratulations to our newest, officially now part of our family. 💝

A reminder that the Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the previous TAFE site closed on the 31st, and the EOI’s for the Noosa River Advisory Board will open shortly. I will update both to 360.

L-R: The Koala Crusaders team; Endeavour Project Launch with Tessa; Live demonstrations went global.

From the Chamber and Beyond

While the first Parliamentary sitting of 2021 is not scheduled until February, there has been much going on behind the scenes in preparation. In addition, with my Legal Affairs and Safety Committee (LASC), there has been multiple meetings and public hearings, including on the ‘consent’ and ‘mistake of fact’ Bill. As I asked, how do you educate if it is difficult to translate legal intricacies? www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-committees/committees/LASC#

From the Inbox

With the unexpected emergence of a hotspot in Greater Brisbane there was a resurgence for extended testing facilities, and we thank Noosa Council and our QAS for the ‘pop up’. Sunny Street have relocated to Tait Duke Cottage in response to requests for a site that could provide shade and toilet facilities. Open 7 days a week, I got to test run as for the first time since COVID became part of our world I had the dreaded sniffles! The service was friendly and efficient, with results back in 32 hours.  For all updates, head to  www.covid19.qld.gov.au

At the time of writing, there has been an easing of restrictions, with our friends from Brisbane now permitted to dance indoors and mingle without a mask, though masks must still be worn in airports and on domestic and international flights. And yes, the Borders open to NSW as of February 1 much to the delight of so many!

The housing crisis here and across the Sunshine Coast accelerated over the holiday break, with working residents and their families facing dire situations. Thank you to Maroochy Housing and all those on Facebook and elsewhere who assisted in ensuring homes were found, even if temporary whilst longer term housing is sourced.  While we work on resolutions via the Housing Action Group, there are a number of ways that you can help. One is for owners renting out a property to consider the option of a ‘head-lease’ with one of community housing providers. This allows these organisations to sublet your property with government subsidisation. There are many benefits to the community management of properties including owners are guaranteed their rentals with no arrears or loss of income through vacancies, 24/7 emergency service for tenants, and ensuring that any unfair wear and tear is covered after each tenancy. In the next newsletter and at Noosa 360 I will update on the Housing Actions Groups’ progress and thank Mayor Clare for taking forward efforts via a Mayoral Minute to Council.

The inappropriate volume of heavy haulage through our hinterland roads resumed after the break. At the community meeting held prior to Christmas, Council advised that its Barrister was taking legal avenues, which was welcomed news for all in attendance. In the meantime, TMR continue to patch and pavement test to increase road shoulders in efforts to deal with, and I await responses from Minister Bailey, Minister Scanlon and the Premier.

Finally, the issue of poor behaviours up the North Shore and in our Cooloola Recreation area, with some campers leaving their rubbish and displaying disrespect for other campers. Yes, there was a storm, however the majority of a 2-day clean-up was an extension of previous occurrences. This has become a non-negotiable situation, and I have called on our new Minister to expediate a resolution and revisit previous recommendations put forward.

On the Homefront

Where to begin?? Meeting the wonderful Tessa at the launch of Endeavour’s housing was inspirational, and to stamp our palmprints into the concrete was not a job for high heels! ❤. This project provides two state-of-the-art accessible homes providing independence for 8 members of our community, with a projected opening date mid-2021.

Karla to the Rescue was also launched, and it was a pleasure again to do ‘storytime’ to our youngest 👩🏻‍🤝‍👩🏻 Profits are for habitat regeneration, and in recognition of the organisations and individuals who work tirelessly for our furry buds.

Our local firefighting innovators shone in wild weather demonstrating ‘live’ to a global market how technology can quickly detect and put out fires. Using real-time thermal satellite imagery, the fire was detected in 3 mins, then promptly put it out utilizing the latest in expandable tanks hitched to one of our favourite ‘Bell’ choppers. Top job!!

Our Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) office opened prior to Christmas, and with no time to do an ‘official’ opening, instead a quick snap of Jake and Angus. Open Mon – Fri 9am – 4pm please drop in if you need anything, alternatively call 5373 2310.

Our youngest are wonderful advocates, and I was visited by representatives from the Noosa Nippers, who have petitioned Government to put an end to shark nets versus a transition to non-lethal drumlines. These passionate lovers of the ocean and marine life are committed to seeing better outcomes, and you will be hearing more of their efforts in the coming weeks and months. With our last survey showing 35% supportive of net removal, they have some work to do, and we will do another survey midyear to see how they are progressing in securing additional support. 🤛

L-R Noosa Nippers say No! to nets; With our ‘Noosa’ biz; Our new MSQ office.

Grants and Funding Announcements

JOBTRAINER FUND – Additional training places in short courses, certificate and diploma qualifications to job seekers, school leavers and young people. https://desbt.qld.gov.au/training/providers/funded/jobtrainer-training-providers

DFV SERVICE PROVIDER GRANTS OPEN NOW- One-off grants of between $50,000 to $150,000 are available to support domestic and family violence (DFV) services to respond to the challenges and additional complexities posed by COVID-19. Up to $2 million in total is available and applications will close at 5pm on Sunday 28 February 2021. Successful applicants will be announced in April 2021. For more information, please visit https://www.csyw.qld.gov.au/campaign/not-now-not-ever-together

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

HEALTH NEEDS ASSESSMENT COMMUNITY SURVEY – The Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast Primary Health Network is currently undertaking a survey which closes 28 February 2021. You can read more at www.ourphn.org.au/survey/

ANNUAL REPORT 2019-20 FEEDBACK SURVEY – By taking a minute to complete this survey, you will help the Queensland Government improve their annual reports so readers can use them more effectively. The survey closes 30 June 2021, so there is plenty of time to have your say. More information is available at https://www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au/gi/consultation/7550/view.html

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

L-R: Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony 2021 – the smiles say it all!! #proud

Mobile Office

We are currently scheduling these and will have dates and locations in our next newsletter.

L-R: With Mayor Clare and the crew from Helitak; Reading to our visiting youngsters; More local heroes

Office Reminders

Our electorate office is open 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday. 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!

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….

With a new year comes endless opportunities and possibilities, and we prepared for this by updating new Ministers on where we are at to ensure a running start! The incredible part of this journey is that we are doing it together, and as we said at the Citizenship Ceremony, we walk together. Whether truck volume, dumpers, events uncertain or shark nets, we are united in achieving better outcomes for our community. Debating with facts respectfully, embracing diversity of opinion and situations, and sharing a ‘coldy’ or ‘cuppa’ when the going gets tough, or rough!

The message we carry into 2021 is of solutions, resolutions, and responsibility. In the beginning of the COVID emergency I said that we would get to the other side stronger, resilient, and more connected, and we have. Recent events have shown that we must be flexible for sudden changes. We also need to be inflexible in some areas as part of addressing poor behaviours. Accountability and consequences empower individuals, and for those that we have requested to do right by our community that continue to disregard by trashing or endangering, there is a communal message coming through loud and clear. So please spread the word that the wooden spoon is out! #enoughisenough

To finish. Until we get to the other side of the vaccine roll out phase, do not become complacent with physical distancing and hygiene measures. You have all done an incredible job. Stick with it, we are nearly there. 👍🤛👏👏 Blessings to you and your loved ones for 2021 with good health, treasured moments and hopefully hugs ahead!!

Sandy 🙏