There is never a ‘normal’ month with COVID-19, and in amongst many fabulous re-openings, gatherings and celebrations, and a visit from the Premier, there were also many changes to borders and COVID-19 regulations. This has included increasing border closures to local government areas identified as hotspots in our southern states. Confusing? Yes, especially with the many calls to open our borders, followed quickly by the many calls to close our borders! We must remain vigilant, responsible for our hygiene and distancing, and most of all, alert for updates and respond accordingly.

While the decision by Noosa Council not to purchase the decommissioned TAFE site in Tewantin, due to the financial impacts of COVID-19, was disappointing, it was not unexpected in this everchanging space. The State Government is currently negotiating with education providers, and I look forward to sharing more on this in the next month. Be assured that at every step on this very, very long journey, my focus has been on delivering an outcome supported by our community and puts an end to this waste of a facility.

It was invaluable to have our Queensland Small Business Commissioner, Maree Adshead, visit with us, where options for rent deferrals and a strategy for our produce and product, with a focus on local and Queensland made, were discussed. Including how to equalise the ‘playing field’ in respect to imports. A big discussion locally, and across Australia.

During the COVID-19 crisis, I had allocated a portion of my pay to fund emergency accommodation for those in need, including our domestic violence households. The remainder has now been committed to commence a pilot to transport our frail to Sunshine Coast University Hospital for their appointments. This to ensure no one is left stranded, and to collate data to ascertain why this is happening whilst the larger regional pilot we have been ‘round-tabling’ over the past 18 months is being formulated. First off has been a call out for volunteer drivers and cars, so please contact our office on 5319 3100 if you are able to assist.

As we have not yet got to the point where all my normal visits to organisations, groups and schools are fully possible, we have scheduled updates, Q&A session or visits to be available either in person under COVID Safe conditions, or virtually via Zoom or otherwise. To book please contact us on 5319 3100 so we can schedule. We continue to do ‘roadies’ with 2 scheduled Aug 8 & Sept 5. Details on last page of the newsletter.

L-R: The Premier visits Tewantin; With our newest Aussies!; QCWA Tewantin Noosa AGM

From the Chamber and Beyond

As the only MP to make a submission to the Inquiry into Government’s Health Response to COVID-19, I was understandably curious as to why. Given our communities’ experiences and recommendations, to collate them as part of identifying where we can do better in the ‘now’ and for any future pandemic I would see as essential.  To view my speech on this submission go click here.

A very different and difficult year for Queensland’s Fiscal position due to COVID-19. As state revenues fall, expenditure has grown through the $6 billion in initiatives implemented over the last six months to protect our health, jobs, and businesses. Below is an update of QLD’s fiscal position following the Fiscal and Economic Outlook provided by the Federal Treasurer.

Queensland Budget Operating Deficit:
• 2019-20: $5.9 billion
• 2020-21: $8.5 billion

Queensland General Government Sector Gross Debt (inclusive of leases, securities and derivatives)
• 2019-20: $43.8 billion
• 2020-21: $59.4 billion

Whilst there is no doubt there will be a tightening of belts into the future and a need for scrutiny of all government expenditure, support for our businesses is essential as increasing revenue is assisted by getting everyone back into work.

From the Inbox

Our ‘inboxes’ continue to be filled with COVID-19 matters with our borders reopening, then re-closing to hotspots, and Facebook concerns regarding sporting teams and their families coming to Noosa.  QLD’s Chief Health Officer (CHO) has ensured that safety protocols and exemption conditions are stricter than standard, requiring quarantines in a dedicated hotel, COVID Safe plans for each team and Return to Play Protocols. We have been advised that teams were tested twice weekly for two months prior to arriving here and have had three tests (twice weekly) since arrival.  These players are also in a ‘bubble’, only allowing contact with persons who have quarantined with them. This means that even when out of quarantine as they have extensive restrictions into the future. Be reassured that throughout this pandemic, the CHO has done a phenomenal job, and as I have said previously, has earned some ‘faith’ credits which includes her decision if and when the borders need to be closed again. The issue of how to prevent those who falsify information to obtain Border Clearances as we have seen recently is being investigated, however there should be no misunderstandings. Those who put ‘recovery’ efforts at risk through such blatant disregard for all should receive the maximum penalty applicable.

On the Homefront

So many special moments as our community reconvened! To welcome our newest citizens in beautifully intimate ceremonies that included laughter and emotional moments with special ‘oi oi oi’s’ from the back stalls, was brilliant. The Tewantin Visitor Centre ‘Welcome Back’ Breakfast; Sunshine Butterflies tour and yes, there is more!

Great joy, colour, and camaraderie at Rotary Noosa Daybreak 2020 Changeover Dinner, alongside celebrating 100 years of Rotary International. Attending the Country Women’s Association AGMs, firstly the Tewantin Noosa branch, then Cooroy.  These incredible ‘gals’ do so much, including providing care packs via DV Connect to women and children in shelters, sharing health and nutrition through the Country Kitchens program, and best of all, provide love, care and assistance to all in our community.

To have our codes back in action, and our youngsters out there training and playing through ‘relaunches’ full of excitement, good energy, and fabulous volunteers, families and sponsors has been vital for the wellbeing of our community. Don’t forget that with the extra COVID Safe requirements, our sporting clubs are in need of assistance, so if you have some time to spare and enjoy helping out, please let them know as they would love to hear from you. The Giant Laughing Kookaburra visited us on his trip around Queensland.  Standing over 4 metres tall this masterpiece was created by Dr Farvardin Daliri OAM, an international renowned artist known for his public art sculpting and painting. And yes, there was 1.5 ‘standoff’ from the Big Pelican😊

Phew! Are you still with me? The Burgess Creek clean-up has restarted, and our dedicated MSQ Officer, Jake, has a ‘shopfront’ to open at Noosa Marina. It was great to catch-up with him and Angus regarding the progress on vessels of concern, and a new user group to work on addressing issues. With a blitz to deal with our ‘tinny rats’, the new SAM (Speed Awareness Monitor),”War on Wrecks” consultation and package of legislative changes coming, we are well on the way to a safer, healthier river.

Meetings with Solar Citizens, National Parks Queensland, Coast2Bay Affordable Housing; the Informed Medical Options Party; Tour; Sunshine Coast Airport Tour; Noosa Tigers…..and much more. I did say it has been a big month!!

L-R: Be Connected Transport Pilot; With Adel RSL SubBranch; With Small Business Commissioner Maree & Noosa ‘Biz’

Grants and Funding Announcements

Another $50 credit off power bills can be expected from 1 September. This is a dividend payment to Queenslanders as shareholders in the state’s publicly owned energy business. As we saw with the recent $200 rebates, these appeared on our next billing cycles, different for all providers. If you do not receive this rebate on your next bill after 1 September, please contact your energy provider and if still not resolved, contact our office.

Homebuilder Grant – Queenslanders who build a new home, substantially renovate their home, or purchase an off-the-plan home such as a unit in an apartment complex or new home in a new estate being developed, can now apply for the $25,000 grant. To find out more and access the application form, click here

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

Parliamentary Speeches and Questions

All speeches can be viewed on our website here.  Recent Questions on Notice (QONs) can be found below:

Recent Questions Without Notice can be found here.

Have Your Say

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: Tuckshop duty at the Pirates as juniors take to the field

Mobile Office

Yes, we can finally kick off again under COVID Safe restrictions! The following dates and times have been scheduled, and I look forward to seeing you!

Aug 8     8am – 12pm    Kin Kin, Cooran, Pomona, Cooroy
Sept 5    8am – 12pm    Peregian, Noosa Junction, Tewantin

Office Reminders

Our office is now open to residents with COVID Safe distancing and hygiene measures in place. Community organisations are welcome to use our photocopier for newsletters under COVID Safe conditions. As always, we are here to help, so please email us at noosa@parliament.qld.gov.au or phone 5319 3100 if you need assistance or advice.

Connect

With so much ‘news’ to communicate, stay up to date via  NOOSA 360 , our Facebook page updates or our monthly newsletters. Columns are featured in Noosa News , Noosa TodayCoolum Advertiser as well quarterly in the Forest Star and Cooroora Connect

And Finally….

During this time, it is VITAL, and our individual responsibility, not to become complacent with our physical distancing and hygiene measures. Our businesses and organisations hosting functions or sporting events have many COVID regulations to manage, and they are doing an incredible job. However, it is up to us to support the work they are doing by managing ourselves whenever we are gathering.  It is not up to them to ‘baby sit’ us.

So, keep to the 1.5m, wash those hands, and stay at home if not well. Symptoms? Get tested and stay isolated until you have a negative result. I ‘harp’ because I see every single one of you as ‘family’ and will do whatever it takes to keep you and your loved ones safe, and our community moving forward. I know how hard it is keeping to the elbow ‘handshake’ when we are desperate to connect in the way that is our norm, However we cannot. As I said at the very beginning, this would be a challenging journey. And we have a way to go yet.
Until next month, I do send many virtual hugs, and thank everyone who is working so hard to get us beyond ‘recovery’ to ‘recovered’. From strive to thrive. From ‘no hugs’ to ‘no more bug’!

Sandy 🙏

Copyright © 2019 | Sandy Bolton MP | All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is: noosa@parliament.qld.gov.au