If last month resembled being in a tumble dryer, this month is more like a cyclone, and I am still looking for the calm in the ‘eye’ of? However, in the storm there was and are many rainbows, and appreciation of 🙏

Extended lockdowns, COVID-19 restrictions, and the impacts of, have brought some intense reactions within our community. The lockdowns themselves are devastating in multiple ways to our small businesses and staff, as well to individuals, and our mental wellbeing is an often-overlooked consequence to this duress. Differing perspectives and viewpoints is essential for a healthy society and interesting dinner conversation! However sadly we are seeing neighbours, friends and families falling out over ‘to vaccinate or not’ and customers abusing staff/businesses for following government directives. Community Facebook pages are also turning off the ‘comments’ ability, due to anger directed between residents from those seeking retribution for perceived breaches of restrictions, or from those to feel their freedom and rights have been taken away. Who could have imagined that a virus would bring about protests on civil liberties, constitutional rights, and the credibility of leaders and the medical/scientific advice that guides governments across the world? Or even that masks could lead to residents being abused, and even isolated? But it has, and this is where we need to do a ‘reset’ and get back to who we are and how we do it! 🤛 #teamnoosa.

L-R:; Cooran State School gardeners; With Mayor Clare and our Lions Club bears; PTSD Dogs Australia 

Regardless of personal choice, viewpoint or ‘truth’, or what is the latest headline; our ‘social contract’ is to look after and support each other. To care for and respect everyone that has a job to do so we can move beyond any challenge or disaster, including this ‘bug’. That is who we are in Noosa, and of which I have always been so intensely proud. Not to judge, abuse those who have a different belief, or bully someone into following ours. As someone once said, good products sell themselves and there is no need to push your ‘goods’ or point of view beyond respectfully sharing. Having consideration, empathy, and tolerance for others around you in these difficult times will assist in the mental fitness of yourself, others and our community as a whole. Further on there are some top tips from a recent event that I have been testing! 👍

As part of a reset, think about the impacts that can be greater than the ‘bug’ itself through our actions. Reporting businesses for real or perceived breaches can be the ‘straw’ that breaks them during the pressures to keep their business afloat and jobs for their staff already in duress from our housing crisis.  You never know what fellow Noosans are going through, so please, a little kindness goes a long way. As has been said many times, we need to focus on our own individual and family’s health measures, not anyone else’s. Let the police get on with the good job that they are doing with a combination of empathy, education, and compliance in a stressed community, as well dealing with further increases in domestic violence and dangerous drivers.

When we think back to sacrifices made by individuals throughout history, for the good of so many, it puts into perspective what is being asked of us. And that is to work together to provide protection and reassurance, including to our elderly and vulnerable, many who fought for the rights and freedoms we enjoy and hold so dear. In conflicting times with contradictory information flooding in, a little reflection on this, and trust in those who have a heavy responsibility to get us through this time goes a long way. They did not have a roadmap, and there have been, and will be, ongoing challenges which is frustrating and fatiguing for all, and which I have and continue to highlight when advocating to government. We must focus on mitigating the impacts to our community, fighting for extra needed support, and getting clarification to both questions and accusations. Yes, it is exhausting. When I see comments on Facebook that I am ‘complicit in not abiding by human rights’, lying to support a ‘hoax’, and not ‘standing up and stopping lockdowns’ I realise how little those writers know of the daily reality. For now 18 months without reprieve, MP’s, frontliners and those who make the big decisions, dream as all do for a time when this ‘bug’ is managed. This so we too can see our loved ones, sleep at night, and for me, get those hugs that we have been desperately missing! 💞

From the Chamber and Beyond

Due to Estimates and preparation for, there has not been any parliamentary sittings during July, and with my Legal Affairs and Safety Committee (LASC) hearings rescheduled due to the lockdown, as well public hearings into our various Bills, there are no reports at this time. Next month, hopefully!

L-R: Back to Noosa Day 2021; Pomona King of the Mountain; With the Bike On Team!

From the Inbox

We thank all who continue to move ‘mountains’ to ensure no one in our community needs to sleep rough, including the team at the Department of Housing and our support organisations (Red Cross, St Vinnies & Salvos). As well our backpackers and resorts who are allocating a portion of their rooms for workers and their families, and the residents who are head leasing their properties or offering share accommodation. This month our Housing Action Group meeting had to be rescheduled due to the lockdown, and I will post to Noosa 360 (www.sandybolton.com/noosa360) a full report once held, as there are a number of outcomes we have been waiting on to alleviate the critical shortfall of rentals. For those experiencing end of lease issues, please contact the Residential Tenancy Authority, who can provide tenancy information and support, bond management, dispute resolution, investigations and prosecutions, and education services. More information at https://www.rta.qld.gov.au/. In addition, the scheduled Kin Kin Roundtable has been delayed until later in August, as well multiple other events and meetings that has Zac and Lisa pulling their hair out!

Following our advocacy, it was welcome news that the Sunshine Coast Health and Hospital Service (SCHHS) is now classifying the majority of Noosa residents as Gympie patients (within a tolerance of kilometres), which will allow our residents to claim subsidies for the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme (PTSS). SCHHS will review claims from Noosa on a case-by-case basis, so even if you don’t believe you meet the criteria, please apply. This has been a long journey for many of our residents having trouble in obtaining affordable transport to get to medical appointments. If any resident would like to request a re-evaluation of their PTSS claim, please visit https://www.qld.gov.au/health/services/travel/subsidies to forward your claims for your review. Alternatively, just give our office a call on 5319 3100 or email noosa@parliament.qld.gov.au for assistance.

For those not eligible for the PTSS or travel assistance from SCUH, our Be: Noosa Connect-SCUH Transport Pilot has identified that many residents who are eligible for My Aged Care, and subsequent subsidised transport, have not registered. So please, anyone who is aged over 65 to avoid transport difficulties head to www.myagedcare.gov.au/help-at-home/home-care-packages or contact your local Federal MP.

As many may not be aware, from 1am AEST Friday 30 July 2021, Queensland residents coming from South Australia or Victoria only, will be able to go into home quarantine (own accommodation) and get tested on day 1, 5 and 12. In addition, anyone in hotel quarantine from South Australia and Victoria can finish their remaining quarantine period at home, but must continue fulfilling the necessary COVID-19 testing requirements. This change will be a ‘Home Quarantine Order’ not a ‘Stay at Home Order’, which means people required to quarantine will not be able to leave their homes other than to obtain a COVID-19 test. Occupants, who reside in the same household as those required to quarantine, do not need to quarantine themselves. Hotspots continue to change, so please check regularly. PLEASENOTE that as of writing August 6, this does not apply to Victorians as they have gone into lockdown again. 😢  A full list of hotspots at https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/contact-tracing.

We have spoken to the QLD Small Business Commissioner and written to the Premier regarding the effect of lockdowns on our small business and the need to bolster business, traveller, and consumer confidence. This by requesting Federal and State Government to liaise with insurance companies, including travel entities, for packages that cover loss from COVID lockdowns for businesses and the cost of quarantine for travellers.  In addition, business recovery packages (which have now been announced though with some ‘gaps’ which we are advocating for) and lease situations both commercial and residential. These in amongst the ongoing requests for the ‘target’ or ‘trigger’ in terms of vaccination percentages required to see an end to lockdowns, and an approximate timeframe based on supply. Since writing, the Australian Government has given some indications from the Doherty Report, however we have had nothing official into our inboxes. We have also written to the Chief Health Officer on a broad range of issues regarding COVID-19 and vaccinations brought to us by residents, including seeking assurance that they will have ‘choice’ regarding vaccinations, and for those frontliners seeking, priority be given. Happily, I was able to secure for our aged care workers the vaccinations sought, though it was not easy, and I thank Llew O’Brien MP and our Sunny Street clinic. 👏👏

With so much more to relay and so little space, stay updated via Facebook as well as Noosa 360 at   www.sandybolton.com/noosa360/. Just type a topic into the search bar, with recent topics including the Noosa River, Cooloola Great Walk and alternative shark control measures. If you cannot find what you are after, call us on 53193100 or email noosa@parliament.qld.gov.au.

L-R: The start of Pomona King of the Mountain; Work experience with Chloe😊; Noosa FM Open Day!

On the Homefront

To offset the ‘COVID’ condition, it was wonderful before lockdown to see so much good in our community and meet with the most amazing people! The month started with a visit to PTSD Dogs Australia which highlighted the importance of mental health support for our frontliners and veterans. These furry buds, who do such an incredible job, are in such demand that they need a bigger home for them and their volunteer trainers. If anybody thinks that they can assist, please contact the office via noosa@parliament.qld.gov.au.

The Red Cross AGM was a chance to acknowledge the incredible and mostly unknown works of our Tewantin Noosa branch as the selfless decades long history of members could fill a book! From the Social Hub at Tait Duke Cottage, Hands on Care and ensuring those during the pandemic have essential assistance, I am always in awe, and deeply appreciative of the difference they make in our lives. Thank you to all members, and a huge congratulations to Long Service Awardees with some 150 years of dedication acknowledged. 🙌

Immersing in the Living Classroom Project ‘Gardens for Life’ permaculture garden with our Grade 4 students at Cooran State School was sheer bliss! With funding from our Seeds of Change grants, they have new wheelbarrows and tools to work their bounty. With a new kitchen garden and tuck-shop on the horizon, as well as meeting circles and native food trees, I can’t wait to come back and enjoy the fruits of their labour!

Thank you to the Tewantin Noosa Lions Club for a fabulous Changeover Dinner which saw the Lions song in full flight to a full house!! Congratulations to incoming President Paul, and gratitude to outgoing Michael. The creation and fostering of all that you do, and how you do it, is felt every day in our community. 😍

‘Back to Noosa Day’ at the Noosa Dolphins was fabulous including wins for both the men and women, splashed with pink as part of the Mingle with the Mayor fundraiser for SunnyKids to fund extra Domestic Violence counselling. With over $10,000 raised in 2 days for some really special causes and seeing all ages sharing their love of the game, what has been achieved by this Club in 36 years is testimony to all who have volunteered their time not only to the sport, but to the broader community. Gold!! 🤛

Thousands rocked up in masks to cheer on over 100 brave souls who tackled Mount Cooroora in under an hour for Pomona King of the Mountain 2021! From juniors to those in their 8th decade, my co-compere Ben and myself were ably assisted by awesome ‘lookouts’ (thanks kids!!) and some technology with our only faux pas when we lost someone?  Congratulations to the King of the Mountain team, Cooroy Pomona Lions Club, and all volunteers who hosted a brilliant weekend of races plus the Antiques/Collection Fair and Vintage Cars and Engines. To all sponsors including our Bendigo Community Bank, and attendees, thank you for a brilliant day. To Mayor Clare and Cr Karen hugs for the impromptu interview 😁 And to all runners, you DID IT!!

L-R: With Marcia @ the Red Cross AGM; Noosa Dolphins rocked!!; Pomona Electronic Kiosk Opening

A wonderful morning was spent ‘workshopping’ with young creative minds and the ever-brilliant Jandamarra Cadd at the Cooroy Butter Factory Arts Centre. Our Seeds for Change Grant Program was able to contribute to this wonderful initiative, encouraging emotion, memories, and vision to be shared via paper, paint, canvas and our hearts. And yes, that is where Bear has his embarrassing moment! 🐕😃

Noosa FM hosted us at their open day for their ‘makeover’, including desks made from timber recycled from the Noosa Boardwalk, new kitchenette and paint, all backed with catchy tunes from The SandFlys, and bylines from the ever-gorgeous Melony! With Bear bolstered by treats from the Original Pet Bone Drink, he was itching to get on the mic and be interviewed. Congratulations to the Noosa FM team, the station refurbed looks as good as you all sound.

And not to forget, the Country Women’s Association (CWA) AGM and visits with further recipients of our Seeds of Change grants including the girls ‘ripping’ it up mountain biking with the Rode On! Program. Celebrating 50 years of David Williamson during the Noosa Alive week and getting to see his ‘Up for Grabs’ show allowed time for a good belly laugh, and the launch of Phil Jarratt’s book ‘A Place of Shadows’ – The History of Noosa saw the ‘who’s who’ all there, with great anticipation of the contents! 😊

Beautiful moments were plenty, and deep gratitude for them all including see Billy immortalised by his granddaughter through paint, and by the lovingly carved benches from the North Shore crew, securing less ‘boring’ masks from one of our students raising funds for orangutangs, and time with our work experience students. Blessed? Absolutely!

Grants and Reminders

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

Parliamentary Speeches and Questions

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

Recent Questions Without Notice can be found here.

Have Your Say

For a complete list of Queensland State Government Consultations, including on the Public Trustee’s Fees and Charges, head to https://www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au/gi/

COVID-19 Links

General information- www.covid19.qld.gov.au

Business supports- www.sandybolton.com/covid-19-business-support/

Mobile Office

Pending the lockdown situation, the next mobile office will be held in Cooran on the 14th of August 9-11am. To organise a meeting, please let us know on 5319 3100 😊

Office Reminders

Our office is open 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday, though not when in 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 360 , Facebook page updates or our monthly newsletters. Columns are in Noosa News , Noosa TodayCoolum AdvertiserForest Star, Cooroora Connect, Your Local Lifestyle and Eastern Beaches News.

L-R: CWA Tewantin Noosa Branch AGM; Book launch with a Noosa Icon; Future Noosa Artists

And Finally….

Our community even when having some ‘glitches’ really is a beautiful place. Not just physically, mentally.  Hearing from Dave from the Wellness Code and members of the CWA on how to build one’s mental fitness as we would with our physical body, made me realise what we forget. The effectiveness of what we have at hand and within our own control. Having someone to listen without judgement, looking at our cup as half full versus half empty, exercise including dancing as if no one is watching, and having gratitude. For those around us or may no longer be, for the beauty of where we live, and the magic in amongst the mayhem! One that we see every day in action, and was spoken about, was the positive impacts to mental wellbeing derived from volunteering. Doing for others is a win/win 🤗. For the recipient, as well the giver. At the Red Cross AGM there was a callout for extra helpers to visit with our elderly in aged care facilities (when they reopen!) as many never have a visitor. By listening, looking at their photo albums, or going for a stroll, chemicals in the brain are released in both, leading to that good feel. So please, with many of our organisations needing assistance, if you have a few hours per week spare? To see what opportunities are available, contact Noosa Council or our office, or direct to the Red Cross or organisation of your choice!

The other? Was to remember how to ‘breathe’ and I have posted up some simple exercises, as well other ‘tips’ to 360. And yes, I will be doing them…all of them!! Though some not at the same time? 😄

PS. Bear has now been with us for a month, and in his short time has developed into a wonderful ‘therapy’ dog providing a hug for those in distress as well not, and a laugh during some intense moments. Between multiple events, situations, meetings and even a ‘Roundtable’, he has done us proud, with only one? accident in public? He was deeply embarrassed …sorry guys! 🙄😍

Sandy 🙏