A Bio war of words erupts

A former deputy mayor says Tony Wellington should join Noosa Biosphere Ltd.
A former deputy mayor says Tony Wellington should join Noosa Biosphere Ltd. WARREN LYNAM

FORMER Noosa deputy mayor Frank Pardon has attacked Division 12 councillor Tony Wellington's decision not to become a board member of the council-controlled Noosa Biosphere Ltd.

Cr Wellington broke with previous council practice that had two Noosa-based councillors helping oversee the activities of the organisation set up to administer the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The councillor told Noosa News he made his decision because he supported "a different governance structure for the Noosa Biosphere Reserve than that which is currently in place".

"I believe governance should be community-based, not controlled entirely by council," Cr Wellington said.

The stand has reopened the conflict between the council biosphere model set up in 2008 and the community group Noosa Biosphere Association, which is supported by influential green group Noosa Parks Association.

Mr Pardon said he believed Cr Wellington was advised not to go on to the NBL by the NPA, which he said contributed $5000 towards the Wellington election campaign.

Mr Pardon said other NPA members chipped in a further $5000 out of $20,000 in campaign funding.

A check by Noosa News of the Queensland Electoral Commission election gift register confirmed that NPA members, including president Ian Sells, Noel Playford and Michael Gloster, were all significant contributors.

Mr Pardon said Cr Wellington's lack of support for the NBL jeopardised the whole UNESCO agreement because he would not be in a position to drive it forward and advocate ongoing council funding.

"UNESCO signed off on that council model so UNESCO does not have a problem with the council-based model, so why does Tony Wellington and the NPA have a problem? He supports the community model which is just one particular group with one particular group of ideas - he's putting I believe the whole Biosphere board and the UNESCO agreement in jeopardy by his stance.

"He should be on the (NBL) board, he might learn something."

Councillor Tony Wellington said: "It is thoroughly laughable for Frank to suggest that my decision not to sit on NBL risks or threatens the agreement with UNESCO. Heck, UNESCO won't even know about it - and if they did, wouldn't give two hoots.

"Thus UNESCO's acknowledgement of the NBL company structure should not be construed as an endorsement of that model. Frank was a member of a group that devised the current council-owned company model for NBL, so it's inevitable that he would seek to defend it."

Cr Wellington said NBL funding is a decision for all 13 elected representatives, and he had voted in favour of this year's budget allocation for NBL.

Topics:  frank pardon noosa tony wellington unesco

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