Noosa mayor Noel Playford.
Noosa mayor Noel Playford. Geoff Potter

Noosa mayor blames debt on Sunshine Coast

MAYOR Noel Playford has blamed a flawed de-amalgamation transfer system which allowed a bloated Sunshine Coast Council bureau cracy to off-load 80 employees for the cost of Noosa staff redundancies, which stands at "somewhere between $6 million and $7 million".

Cr Playford believes the de-amalgamation cost should not include a figure that has resulted from the Sunshine Coast Council handing Noosa Council back excess staff and insists the actual cost of the split is still under $5 million.

But the mayor, who said the redundancies figures had not been finalised yet, said whatever the cost it was worth any short-term financial squeeze for a major long-term gains for Noosa.

"Even though we've got some financial restraints back now, we've got our level of services back to where we were before," he said.

"If that was the penalty, then I'll take the penalty every time because the alternative would have been to have no de-amalgamation and we would have forever been worse off.

"At least this way we'll recover from the current situation within a couple of years and even in that couple of years we'll be better off in a lot of respects.

"Frankly, whatever costs people want to add to the de-amalgamation costs, it still won't add up to the 13.5 million (quoted by Queensland Treasury Corporation)."

However, Sunshine Deputy Mayor and finance portfolio holder Chris Thompson said his council was only following the de-amalgamation legislation and Noosa has got exactly what it asked for.

He believes the transfer system that delivered 425 full-time staff back to Noosa was fair and the Treasury's final estimate looks to be spot-on.

"It was clearly set out in the legislation that governed de-amalgamation, they (Noosa) were effectively to get all those staff back.

"Those redundancies costs are in fact a cost of de-amalgamation. I think that's what most people considered to be fair," he said.

"That's effectively what everyone wanted - they wanted their old council back. That's exactly what they got."

Cr Thompson said his council had it "verbally confirmed from Queensland Treasury that there was a $12m line of credit set up for de-amalgamation costs for Noosa". "That had been exhausted as of about two weeks ago," he said. "That's what's happened. I think that's how they've funded their redundancies.

"I think the QTC figures are proving to be very accurate," Cr Thompson said.

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