Mayor attacks ‘xenophobia'
MAYOR Mark Jamieson has accused a former Noosa councillor of "xenophobia" because of his concerns the Saudi Arabian National Guard is training on a small Noosa North Shore airstrip.
Frank Wilkie, who served on the council in 2007, wrote to all councillors at the weekend asking why it was assisting the "military of a repressive, medieval regime that still has public beheadings".
Mr Wilkie, who was also a former Noosa News editor, also questioned what "motivates our mayor and councillors to override the concerns of Coast residents and ratepayers in favour of this regime with such an appalling human rights record".
Mr Wilkie said the Guard was the "elite arm for the king". "This is the only government in the world which bans women driving," he said.
Mr Jamieson said Mr Wilkie served on the Noosa Council after it endorsed the Noosa North Shore Management Plan which "opened the door for helicopter training at Teewah".
"So he had the opportunity to change it, but didn't," Cr Jamieson said.
"Now he attacks the current council for not doing what he failed to do himself.
"Notwithstanding the fact the Federal Government decides who is allowed to trade in this country, Mr Wilkie's comments reek of xenophobia.
"Is Mr Wilkie seriously suggesting that foreign nationals from any country with a different government to ours should be banned?
"Is Mr Wilkie seriously suggesting the Coast's English schools ban Saudi students, the local maker of super catamarans stop selling to Saudi Arabia, and hotels turn away Saudi tourists? Mr Wilkie should retract his comments."
The ongoing helicopter training from an airstrip at Teewah has sparked local outrage over noise levels.
Angry residents packed the council's meeting last week as Cr Tony Wellington introduced a notice of motion to ban commercial helicopter flights.
Cr Wellington said in the past six months the number of trips had escalated to "helicopters going from 6am to 10 or 11pm". His concerns have been shared by Member for Noosa, Glen Elmes, who accused the council of "refusing to act".