Abbot reflects on days as mayor

BONO and Bob Abbot - it was a heady double act as the outgoing mayor of the first Sunshine Coast Council sang the praises of a four-year work in progress last week.

This was after the last council meeting of the 2008-2012 term had been given a slide show snapshot of council's significant achievements to a Bono and U2 soundtrack of Beautiful Day.

Among the achievements were an upgraded Queensland Treasury Corporation financial assessment with a credit rating of "strong" with a "neutral outlook" and major investments in Noosa like the $11 million Cooroy library, the $12 million Noosa transit station, $7 million Girraween Sports Precinct, delivered with the help of federal and state funding.

There was also the Natural Advantage to Business initiative to encourage investment and job creation in the region.

The Noosa-based mayor, who is standing down at the April 28 council elections to take a year-long mayoral mentoring role with the Local Government Association of Queensland, said his council had given the Coast community "the best chance it could possibly have in the future".

"The financial position is awesome, given where the previous councils were with regards to debt and growth and trying to keep up with all of those things in the past," he said.

"All the three councils came together with almost the same amount of debt per head of population. There wasn't a lot of difference.

"We delivered an outcome (financially) better than most and second to none in the state of Queensland.

"I think you all need to give yourself a pat on the back for that."

Cr Abbot said the first four years of work formed the basis of "a long-term, sustainable, green, lean, diverse" community.

"All the things that we've done have been done under a cloud I think of significant, global financial pressure," he said.

"That put a very significant load on our shoulders and the shoulder of the people in this community to try and get through that. And we didn't weaken - we didn't baulk."

He refuted claims that the council was slow to approve development with "97% of all development applications received have been approved in the last two years".

"So we haven't been slack in delivering the applications, but we have a very slack number of applications appearing on our door - 50% less applications than we were getting four years ago," Cr Abbot said.

"We've invested heavily in the economy over those four years - we haven't just sat back - on average over a $100 million was put back into this community through contracts."

The mayor said that was "$400 million we have invested directly in this community in the last four years".

Topics:  bob abbot economy finance politics sunshine coast regional council

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