NOOSA is spearheading opposition to proposed State Government legislation that could see the community watchdog put out of business if they unsuccessfully appeal development applications and have six figure legal costs awarded against them.
The community that is still fighting tooth and nail for de-amalgamation has made 40 of the 123 submissions to state parliament and key Noosa stakeholder group representatives on Thursday went before the parliamentary committee reviewing the Sustainable Planning and Other Legislation Amendment Bill.
Despite only three days notice to attend and with around only two minutes each to make their case the message came through loud and clear from up here - don't stifle a community's ability to challenge the top end of town in the Planning and Environment Court.
Going into bat for Noosa's proud six decades of activism were Joe Jurisevic from the Noosa Residents and Ratepayers Association, Johanne Wright from the Eumundi Doonan and Verrierdale Residents Group and Dick Patterson from the Noosa Waters Residents Association.
They were also joined by Ian Christesen of OSCAR - the Sunshine Coast ratepayers' umbrella group.
"The change that they're bringing in by taking away own costs and possibly awarding costs and making it not discretionary to the judge mean that any entity that wishes to question a developer's application will potentially now no longer do it," Mr Jurisevic told the Noosa News afterwards.
"Because if they wear the costs they'll be bankrupt - you could lose your house and what would a community group do?
"How would a community group like Noosa Residents and Ratepayers Association be able to afford that?"
"There's no way they could afford to wear the costs of a developer's legal team.
Ms Wright said she feared from the committee questioning last week they may intend to try and modify to deflect the public outcry, rather than just scrapping it.
"My concern is that they will attempt to modify it and in the process of modifying it, will probably make it just a muddle," she said.
"They threw out the question, for instance what if community organisations were declared exempt because they are in the public interest, but there is no criteria about what that would be or how it would be applied and under what circumstances.
"From our point of view there was no compelling evidence that there was a problem with this issue and that the existing court arrangement was flexible and they provided an opportunity for the judge to take action if he felt there was vexatious or inappropriate appeals."
"The court has a very high settlement rate because the court has been quite rational - legal experts say what's being done now is international best practice so why would you change it?
"In our submission we said the devil's in the detail," Ms Wright said.
Mr Patterson said such a fundamental change to council decisions would effectively lock out community groups from challenging developments proposals that may not be in a community's best interest.
He said the NWRA position basically was they system was working well as it is now and "if it's not broken don't fix it".