Chamber of Commerce counting costs of Noosa amalgamation
WILL de-amalgamation be good for business or impose more costs? We discussed that issue at the Noosa Chamber of Commerce AGM on Tuesday evening.
Feedback from one of Noosa Shire's larger employers spelled out the costs to his business as a result of the formation of the Sunshine Coast Council.
For a generation, this local business had successfully tendered for Noosa Council work. That resulted in many jobs for local tradespeople, apprentices and administrators. With amalgamation the majority of that work dried up, with the company losing almost all of its tenders for council work.
That impact on Noosa Shire businesses has ricocheted around our community: less money spent in local wholesalers, stores, cafes, restaurants, hairdressers and more. Less business for accountants, bookkeepers, marketing companies, even lawyers.
It has also seen an increase in call-out times to repair broken pipes and other council infrastructure which has affected many businesses, especially in Cooroy, Cooran and Pomona. Apparently council workers asked where Pomona was.
Some business owners were also concerned about the cost impact de-amalgamation would have on local businesses.
Former Mayor Noel Playford explained that Noosa Shire rates would rise at a lower rate than the Sunshine Coast Council.
That is based on the forward projections of the Sunshine Coast Council and the projections for the Noosa Shire Council.
It has all been worked out using the Queensland State Government's budgeting systems all councils use.
The Sunshine Coast Council figures show a massive drop in council spending on infrastructure and maintenance in the Noosa Shire. That would mean even less chance for local businesses to tender for business, and higher rates in the future to repair rather than maintain our infrastructure and assets.
The cost of de-amalgamation will be substantially less than the $4 million cost to amalgamate the three councils. The biggest part of that cost was the new IT systems, which will remain in place. Even if it were higher, the Noosa rate intake is such that it would have negligible impact. We can afford it. Easily.
As important as all the financial figures are, we all depend on tourism. We saw that in the past few years with all the empty shops around town.
The Sunshine Coast Council wants to amalgamate Tourism Noosa into Sunshine Coast Destinations. That will weaken our international Noosa Brand which benefits the whole shire.
All the figures look good for businesses with the return to the local council: an opportunity to tender for local council business, for jobs within our capacity, and a return to lower rates and a council in surplus as we had before.