Calls for referendum

Mayor hopeful, Brett Winkler supports Noosa’s push for de-amalgamation from Sunshine Coast Council.
Mayor hopeful, Brett Winkler supports Noosa’s push for de-amalgamation from Sunshine Coast Council. Contributed

NOOSA'S campaign for a referendum on de-amalgamation has won support from Sunshine Coast mayoral candidate Brett Winkler.

The 43-year-old Mudjimba-based management, marketing and media consultant for the Daniel Morcombe Foundation and Cooroy RSL was in Noosa on Friday and said he favours a referendum to let Noosa decide its own fate.

Mr Winkler believes he is the only candidate in the eight-way race to replace Cr Bob Abbot on April 28 to favour the de-amalgamation process as outlined by the new LNP State Government.

Mr Winkler said while the boundary review process was taking place over the next year or more, he would as elected mayor of the Coast, set in place special protections for the Noosa Plan to maintain Noosa's "iconic lifestyle and reputation".

"The people, not government, should have the opportunity to decide its own destiny," Mr Winkler said.

"Noosa has long fought to retain their unique identity and I plan to fight with them on this issue."

His one proviso was that the separation from the Sunshine Coast council would be cost-neutral to the Coast residents outside of Noosa.

While his stand could help deliver him a block of votes north of Peregian, he was not concerned he might suffer a backlash from the southern parts of the Coast who may see Noosa as putting self-interest ahead of the regional good of all.

"I think a lot of the people down there just want to have it (the de-amalgamation issue) resolved," Mr Winkler said.

"I came here in 1988, that's how I discovered the Sunshine Coast, but the whole thing I've learnt is that Noosa doesn't want to be better - they just want to be different.

"As soon as people down there understand that the better. Noosa's been set up so they can have a niche position with their tourism and their lifestyle.

"We need to protect it, we can't come in with the one brush fits all."

Mr Winkler said regardless of the outcome of the promised LNP referendum, as mayor he would appoint a dedicated taskforce within council to ensure Noosa retained its distinct character and planning.

"What may work in other areas of the Sunshine Coast is not what may work in Noosa and we need to respect that"

However, Mr Winkler said that if Noosa people voted to stay with the Coast regional council he wanted that to be the end of the debate.

"If it doesn't proceed, then it is put to bed once and for all, end of story, join the team."

If Noosa separates from Sunshine Coast he believes the two councils could work effectively together along the lines of the old Sunshine Coast Regional Organisation of Councils arrangement.

Topics:  brett winkler de-amalgamation noosa politics referendum sunshine coast regional council

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