Former public servants deny council input for website

Peter Burke
Peter Burke Contributed

A FORMER senior Queensland public servant who is co-publishing a website promoting a Noosa de-amalgamation 'no' vote on March 9 has denied he is linked to the Sunshine Coast Council.

Pomona-based George O'Farrell has said he and former top bureaucrat Peter Burke of Black Mountain launched the website off their own bat.

Mr O'Farrell this week confirmed both his and Mr Burke partners used to work for the regional council and that he had done some consultancy council work including an 'Audit of the Permit Conditions for the Peregian Originals'.

He said Mr Burke had not worked for the Coast council, but had been a paid consultant for Noosa and Maroochy councils.

"Both our partners have in the past worked for Sunshine Coast Council. Neither of our partners is currently engaged by council," Mr O'Farrell said.

"A good question to ask, 'has council informed or assisted anything we've done?' - and the answer is no they have not.

"There is no link between what we've done and council, it's entirely Peter's and my work all on our very own.

"If that's the best they (the de-amalgamation lobby) can do - I mean, really - have they got an argument or not?

Mr O'Farrell said he believed the 'yes' argument was so poor of ideas that the Free Noosa push was 'playing the man'.

Mr O'Farrell is a former director-general of the Department of Tourism, Fair Trading and Wine Industry Development and the Public Service Commissioner for Queensland. Mr Burke was formerly CEO of the Bathurst-Orange Development Corporation and business manager for public housing in New South Wales.

His and Mr Burke's website provides reasons why the Coast cannot afford the Noosa split at and claims they are "neither political campaigners nor slick marketers". Their slogan says: "There's only loss in going back to the future".

"We're just two individuals who have looked at the (de-amalgamation) figures and our analysis is that they don't add up," he said.

"In fact they will end up costing Noosa and the rest of the Sunshine Coast."

"We're simply looking to provide an alternative view to people who may be undecided," a joint statement said.

"We've decided to act because we're increasingly concerned that a tsunami of highly co-ordinated promotional effort on behalf of the Friends of Noosa is drowning attempts to present a balanced view. Unfortunately, alternative views are not being given the airplay they deserve.

"However emotionally appealing it may be to return to a small council, the evidence points to an increased cost to everyone on the coast."

Both are advocating the voting Noosa population view Queensland Treasury Corporation costing estimates as they offer "the only credible financial information".

"That makes it clear Noosa residents can confidently expect higher rates or reduced services if we de-amalgamate."

The Noosa Indepence Alliance declined to comment.

Topics:  de-amalgamation

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