The rapid changes in this year have not abated this month, with border opening announcements, welcoming of new and returning MP’s, the official opening of the 57th Parliament, and an abundance of highlights that I always endeavour to condense, though find impossible in one newsletter!

First let me again send my deep gratitude to each and every one of you who helped in the lead up to and during the election. To have so many incredible residents working to keep Noosa Independent is truly humbling, and it is wonderful to finally be able to shout out loud and proud that “WE DID IT!”. Many new friends made, and memories always treasured.

Amongst the ‘officialdom’ of Parliament this month, I was honoured here at home to be able to release one of the beautiful doves on Remembrance Day, as well invade the stunning gardens including the edible variety at Hibiscus Noosa Outlook.  100th birthday celebrations and officially opening the new Health Hub at the Noosa Men’s Shed were treasured moments, as were the scones! Our community is one of vibrance and uniqueness, and I am so looking forward to coming home and immersing myself in all things ‘Noosa’ from beach to bush once Parliament is completed for the year! 😊

L-R: SES assisting the RYDA Program; Celebrations at Noosa Men’s Shed; ‘Green Thumbs’ at Hibiscus Noosa Outlook!

From the Chamber and Beyond

Yes, the 57th Parliament is officially open!!! After a caretaker period that has made processes frustratingly slow at times, it is now back to business. After being sworn in, it was an honour to second the nomination of Curtis Pitt MP as Speaker of the House. He demonstrated last term inclusiveness, fair rulings and words of wisdom, even when we may not have appreciated them? 😊 As part of Middle Ages tradition, the Premier and myself were required to ‘drag’ the elected Member to the dais, though due to COVID-19 the ‘dragging’ became a non-contact ‘pushing’ which made for quite the spectacle, and a new tradition? If you follow the ‘Sandy Bolton MP’ Facebook page you may have seen the reasoning behind this tradition, where the Speaker represented the Parliament to the Crown, a role which came with considerable risk. Luckily for modern time Speakers there is now no fear of death, however when advocating for a review of sessional orders and inefficient practices, I can see where the medieval monarch’s frustrations may have come from!

The traditions continued into day 2, with cannon fire welcoming the Governor of Queensland startling even seasoned MP’s, and an address by Turrbal elder Uncle Joe Kirk that sent a clear message of who we all are. One mob, united in efforts to create good for each other. Once on the Speakers Green, it was a smoking ceremony with fabulous dance, boxed afternoon tea, and time to take guests for a tour of the ‘Big House’. The week ended with a parliamentary sitting, that definitely was not the calm before the storm of Budget and Estimates, with the need for a review of sessional and standing orders rightly prominent!

In amongst, nights were spent writing to our new and not so new Ministers regarding budget items, your feedback on the recent election, and requests for additional emergency funding including for the rental crisis we are currently facing. Also covered was the need to look at how we best manage COVID outbreaks into the future, and the Premiers recent comments on options that do not require our border to close each time, which have been welcomed. In amongst the host of other advocacies, there was meetings including with representatives from TMR and the Minister regarding our inappropriate heavy haulage issue. And a new Committee allocated which has already filled the inbox?

From the Inbox

COVID-19 remains prominent, and we welcomed the announcement that Queensland borders would be open to all of New South Wales and Victoria from Tuesday 1 December 2020. South Australia is being assessed by our Chief Health Officer as we prepare this. You can find the latest information on COVID-19 in QLD at www.covid19.qld.gov.au

The issue of heavy haulage trucks passing through our hinterland continues to be a priority. Efforts by all stakeholders involved including Noosa Council and at a State level Minister Bailey, with all waiting on the advice from Council’s Barrister. As was mentioned in last month’s newsletter, a 10-year old independent report highlighted that the current infrastructure could not support 80 truckloads per day let alone 200. Please refer to Noosa 360 for all updates including from my meeting with the Minister, with a second drafted community meeting scheduled for Wednesday 16th December, 5.30pm at the Pomona Majestic Theatre. Confirmation will be available shortly.

On the Homefront

Every time I sit to write this section, I never know where to start!!! First of all, the incredible messages that I have received since the election (which feels so long ago now!) have been deeply appreciated, and I am so honoured, humbled and privileged  to be your State MP for another term, and excited for the journey together!

Celebrating 100 years of life is more than a gathering. To have served cake to Margaret, an inspirational woman with stories to share about times past and what is important, was an honour and taught me much. It is very much a case of ‘Lest we Forget’ and when we do, we need our matriarchs and patriarchs to remind us. They do this in so many ways, and the construction of the newest addition to the Noosa Men’s Shed, is another lesson. With just $35,000 in State grant money, sponsors and extra donations, through their never-ending toil they have built a Health Hub to create the space for wellness both physical and mental. These lads never do anything in ‘halves’ and this addition to their growing ‘campus’ is truly extraordinary, and testimony to what can be achieved. Now, did I mention their scones?

Joining residents from the Cooroibah community commemorating the one-year anniversary of the bushfires provided an opportunity to share so much, and to connect in ways that are real and necessary as part of the healing. To sit on the foreshore with all where this time last year was blackened by fire, now green with renewed growth, was special.

In addition to many events, there were plenty of meetings including the second Housing Action Group Meeting with good progress on options, partnerships and further potential sites. I will update further in the New Year.

It was a pleasure to attend the Grade 12 Presentation night at Good Shepherd Lutheran College, especially to absorb the incredible achievements, energy and excitement! Yes, we had some hiccups with our visiting youngsters as part of their celebrations, however from reports the vast majority showed enormous respect for our beautiful home. To all graduates across the Noosa Electorate, congratulations and we look forward to hearing of your new endeavours!!

L-R Margaret’s Birthday Celebrations; ‘QTime’ for Peregian Nipper Captains; Masking up for Graduation time!

Grants and Funding Announcements

COVID-19 INTERNATIONAL TOURISM ADAPTATION GRANT – This funding aims to support regional Queensland tourism businesses that have suffered losses of income because of the international travel restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will close once all funding has been allocated. More information can be found at www.ditid.qld.gov.au/our-work/covid-19-international-tourism-adaptation-grant

For 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

SUNSHINE COAST HERITAGE PLAN – Consultation is now open for the draft Heritage Plan 2021-2031, submissions close 13 December 2020. More information at haveyoursay.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/draft-heritage-plan

HEALTH NEEDS ASSESSMENT COMMUNITY SURVEY – The Sunshine Coast Primary Health Network survey closes 28 February 2021. Please visit www.ourphn.org.au/survey/

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: Opening of the 57th Parliament; Our rural ‘firies’ at the Cooroibah Anniversary; The Invisible Injuries team sizzling!

Mobile Office

We are scheduling these for the New Year and will have dates and locations in our next newsletter!!

L-R: With John and students at RYDA; Remembrance Day 2020; The opening of the Noosa Men’s Health ‘Shed’

Office Reminders

Our electorate office will be closed for the Christmas break from December 18 until January 4. Emails and messages during this time will be actioned upon our return, with emergency contact numbers provided in the December newsletter, and in both auto responders. As always, we are here to help so please just call or email. For community organisations don’t forget our photocopier is available for your newsletters, as well the marquee and trailer for events.

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….

At the very beginning of the pandemic, I did say it would be a journey, and that it has. With the ‘thrive’ phase now under way, there is so much excitement as well hope, and understandably some concerns on how outbreaks will be handled to avoid border reclosures. Yes, we will have frustrating moments, however whatever we confront we will overcome together as we have proven time and time again over this last 12 months.

As we head into the holiday season there is still much to do, and currently I am in Parliament for Budget week and then the Estimates Hearings. Given the shortened timeframe, no small task, and I may not be able to respond to Facebook tags and messages as usual, so please call or email any concerns. As well, being in down here in the ‘Big House’ sadly I will not be home to attend some of our fabulous end of year celebrations. Given this has been the hardest of years and I had never been so looking forward to gathering with you at this time, it does make me sad. However, watch out, as wherever I can I will be there, with bells and any bit of tinsel I can find, firmly fixed on!

Blessings everyone. I look forward to seeing you in the Christmas edition, and out and about as soon as I get back.

Sandy 🙏