TOLD YOU SO: Former Noosa councillor Lew Brennan warned of a budget blow-out to de-amalgamate Noosa and Sunshine Coast councils.
TOLD YOU SO: Former Noosa councillor Lew Brennan warned of a budget blow-out to de-amalgamate Noosa and Sunshine Coast councils. Darryn Smith

Former councillor predicted Noosa's budget blow-out

A FORMER Noosa councillor who lost his seat because of his opposition to de-amalgamation says he has long believed there was something wrong with the new council's financial claims.

Lew Brennan's concerns of a Noosa budget blow-out were howled down by de-amalgamation supporters and he fell out of favour with voters.

He ultimately failed in his tilt at a seat on the newly re-formed Noosa Council.

But his predictions of a cost blow-out appear to have become a reality, with news the true cost of de-amalgamation could be more than $10 million and Noosa Council is trying to get another $20 million from the

Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

Mr Brennan said he was "heavily criticised" for

publicly voicing concerns about statements made by Noosa Mayor Noel Playford about the "true costs" of de-amalgamation during his push for separation from the Sunshine Coast Council.

Mr Playford claimed the total costs would be about $2.7 million despite Local Government Minister David Crisafulli and the Queensland Treasury Corporation estimating the split would cost more than $13 million.

Mr Brennan said he was not surprised the Noosa Council had demanded a further $20 million as part of "de-amalgamation negotiations", despite already receiving $40 million.

"I haven't seen any information around to see exactly why they think they are owed $20 million or indeed what it is to be used for," he said.

"There are massive holes in their budgets and they have to find money from somewhere.

"Despite their claim of being open and transparent, it has been difficult to get any detailed information from them at all and the information that has been provided has been grossly inaccurate."

Mr Brennan said he had written to the Noosa councillors and its chief executive officer about its preliminary budget review in June.

"I saw a massive shifting of funds and there were a significant amount of changes to the budget itself, nothing like I had seen before in my 15 years on the council," he said.

Mr Brennan said he could not understand why Noosa Council had not increased its rates this year.

"It was just pure politics and vote-getting," he said.

"This was not about planning for a sustainable approach to local government."

True Blue Noosa founder Jeff Nuske, who was also outspoken against de-amalgamation, said he wanted Cr Playford to be held accountable for misleading constituents.

"I want to know who's going to go and collect the keys to (Mr Playford's) house," he said.

"He said he would put his house on the fact it would only be $2.75 million and we're finding it's considerably greater, potentially $17 million."

Qld Local Government Minister David Crisafulli has said all costs for de-amalgamation would be the responsibility of the Noosa Council and Mr Nuske said he was concerned what that would mean for ratepayers.

"If Noosa really needs that $20 million to be financially viable, we might get something like a 25% rates rise for Noosa residents if they are desperate to fill the hole," he said.


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