Former Mackay mayor Colin Meng holds Noosa’s future in his hands.
Former Mackay mayor Colin Meng holds Noosa’s future in his hands. Contributed

Deciding our future

THE man now in control of Noosa's de-amalgamation destiny jumped boots and all into local government in 2008 in a part of the world that was a hotbed for lumping councils together, and was on the record as saying "amalgamation had to happen".

Colin Meng - now Queensland boundaries commissioner - like Noosa's first amalgamation mayor, Bob Abbot, scored a crushing win over a local council veteran.

Mr Meng, a long-term businessman, was backed by business interests and serving district councillors to stand for the Mackay Regional Council mayoralty and trounced sitting deputy mayor Don Rolls.

Mr Meng served the one four-year term on the MRC - an amalgamation of the Mackay City, Mirani and Sarina councils.

The ABC reported in 2007 that Mr Meng had been a Mackay local for close to six decades and had cited the sale of his tyre business as one of the main catalysts for deciding to run for the top council job.

He started Meng Mechanical Repairs in 1974 and Meng Tyre Sales in 1982, building it up to employ 60 people, his online biography states.

After being appointed boundaries commissioner in June by Local Government Minister David Crisafulli, Mr Meng was reported in his hometown paper, the Daily Mercury, as saying: "I would hope he looked at my credentials in business and local government."

Noosa's de-amalgamation might be heartened he told the Mercury back then: "After the amalgamation fiasco back in 2007 ... a number of councils and organisations that have been part of the amalgamation are unhappy with what happened."

But Mr Meng made it clear he believed amalgamation had been a success on his watch.

In the same article he said: "I think Mackay was reasonably successful at making amalgamation work."

And late last year when announcing he was not going to stand for re-election for health reasons, Mr Meng told the Mercury: "I would like to think this council topped the polls when it comes to amalgamation."

The first of the frequently asked questions about the Boundary Commission on the State Government website is why choose a former mayor as boundaries commissioner.

The answer given was: "We wanted to get someone who understands local government, who experienced an amalgamation and knows intimately what communities went through."

The Free Noosa campaigners, being led by former Noosa mayor Noel Playford, are confident they have met the criteria that was set down by the LNP State Government to win the right for a local de-amalgamation vote.

But Free Noosa believes selling Noosa's differences to Mr Meng is crucial to the process and want local residents to impress upon the commissioner why it is important for the former shire not to be part of a homogenised coastal city.

"Having seen our trolley-load of facts and signatures, boundaries commissioner Col Meng will be in Noosa soon to get a first-hand feel for what's driving our push for a restored Noosa Council," Mr Playford says in his Noosa News column today.

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