Small step for Noosa vital
ACHIEVING de-amalgamation may not be in the realms of NASA's moonshot, but Free Noosa's Noel Playford believes getting to first base with Tuesday's announcement of boundary review is one vital step for his community that promises a giant leap for restoring local government accountability.
"It's another hurdle which we expected to clear," Mr Playford said of Local Government Minister David Crisafulli's announcement that Noosa was one of five Queensland areas in the running for a possible vote to split from regional councils.
The other bids to be scrutinised by boundaries commissioner Colin Meng and the Queensland Treasury Corporation are Douglas, Isis, Livingstone and Mareeba, while 14 other submissions were rejected.
Mr Playford said the commissioner had just two and a half months to closely evaluate five de-amalgamation cases so "he won't be letting the grass grow under him".
"We know our community has been galvanised into a very strong consensus of business people and local residents who want their council back.
"We need to get that across to him before he makes his decision.
"So when he comes to town, people need to make sure that the commissioner understands how they feel about getting a local council back," Mr Playford said.
"He'll either recommend we have a poll or not, and that is obviously critical - if he recommends a poll then we can expect the minister to agree to that and we'll get a vote."
As a former Noosa mayor who helped open up local government procedures to greater public scrutiny, Mr Playford is not impressed at the prospect of the other alternative of just two Noosa councillors remaining on Sunshine Coast Council.
"It's interesting. Not only have we had services reduced and a majority of councillors don't really understand what makes Noosa tick and what's important to the community and in an economic sense, but they've demonstrated their contempt for the local community in recent times by deciding not to have open committee meetings," he said.
"They effectively decide things behind closed doors."
Noosa MP and LNP State Government minister Glen Elmes said the decision was testament to the professionalism of the proposal and the determination of the Noosa community to see their shire returned as "an autonomous local government area".
Mr Elmes said Mr Crisafulli was due to make an announcement in early December about which of the five selected proposals will proceed to a vote to be held by the end of March 2013.