Call for LNP to uphold promise
NOOSA has already made its intentions loud and clear about wanting a reborn stand-alone council and does not need the whole of the Sunshine Coast deciding its future.
That is the unequivocal response from Noosa Independence Alliance spokesman Noel Playford, who wants the LNP to stand by its original commitment to pave the way for a Noosa de-amalgamation from the Sunshine Coast Council without a referendum, if it wins the next state election.
LNP leader Campbell Newman told the Sunshine Coast Daily the LNP was “very supportive” of Noosa’s desire to control its own local government destiny again but added: “ultimately, it will be a democratic decision of people in Noosa and the Sunshine Coast”.
Mr Playford said he would be meeting with Mr Newman early next week and hoped to resolve the issue.
“What the Noosa community needs now is a definite public statement of support from him for a new Noosa council,” Mr Playford said.
“Lately, there have been some mixed messages, including recent comments implying all Sunshine Coast residents would have a say.
“The Noosa community is willing to pay the costs of de-amalgamation and there will be no detriment to the rest of the coast. So we believe there is no justification for a referendum and it would be an unnecessary cost.”
Mr Playford added that if Noosa was to “pay the tab” for all the separation costs, why should someone in Caloundra, who will not be out of pocket, be asked to decide Noosa’s future?
Local Government Association Queensland executive director Greg Hallam believed a petition would need to be taken up for a coastal referendum ,with the aim of getting support from one in five voters. The last thing NIA supporters want is for their de-amalgamation push hijacked by outsiders. Mr Playford was well aware of the fruitless 1996 de-amalgamation option offered by the Borbidge Government to a number of councils that had been forcibly amalgamated by the previous Labor government.
This chance for a de-amalgamation vote came with too many strings attached and not one of new councils took the opportunity to de-amalgamate.
When the Coalition under Mr Borbidge was elected, it made amendments to the Local Government Act to enable possible de-amalgamation of local government areas that took in the cities of Cairns, Gold Coast, Ipswich and the shires of Burnett, Cooloola and Warwick.
The Borbidge Government had gone to the voters in the election with a policy of: “where forced amalgamation has occurred, the Coalition will legislate for a referendum to be held on de-amalgamation, where 10% of electors in such a local government area petition the Minister for Local Government.”
Those entitled to vote in any referendum were registered voters in the newly amalgamated area, or those in parts of areas which were transferred from the amalgamated area to an adjoining local government.
Earlier this year, 97% of Noosa people surveyed in a LGAQ poll said they wanted to de-amalgamate.