The FON Committee had a very useful meeting with Peter Franks on 10 May. Peter has been appointed by the Queensland Government to manage Noosa’s transition to independence. Thus Peter is representing Noosa in negotiations with John Knaggs and his staff from the Sunshine Coast Council. Peter will be interim CEO when Noosa Council starts on 1 January 2014.
Peter said that he had three roles:
- Splitting the assets and liabilities between Noosa and the SCC
- Setting up an interim organisational structure etc so the new Council can operate as from 1/1/14
- Prepare a range of options and recommendations for the new Council to consider with regard to a range of strategic and operational issues, including a financial assessment of how the Noosa Council could operate.
The asset and liability allocation would be done in line with the Queensland Treasury Corporation methodology. The key principles are that for fixed assets and liabilities they will be split according to where they are and for movable assets the split would be largely based on a 21:79 split, which is the split between Noosa and the SCC of rates revenue. However, the overriding philosophy that the State has set is that the SCC must be in a no worse off position than they are today as a result of the Noosa’s decision to deamalgamate. Peter noted that allocation of assets would involve hard negotiations.
He added that when he could defer a decision to the new Noosa Council, he would do so. For example, he would, wherever feasible, not enter into contracts which might involve medium to long term commitments for Noosa. He would leave those to the new Council when established. Similarly, he would not appoint the Directors who will fill the crucial positions immediately below the CEO. Rather, he would use consultants to do the relevant tasks until the new Council could make the appointments. Peter confirmed that he would be applying for the permanent CEO position.
Noosa would have no say in the number of staff transferred to it; at the moment it looked as though that number would be about the middle of the range (365 to 450). John Knaggs has indicated that he probably would select the transferees on the basis of staff who previously worked for the Noosa Council; plus other staff that currently work on Noosa-specific issues; then others to be determined to make up the total he decides to transfer. Peter would then place these people into an interim structure – which would be tailored to the services needed; this could involve identification of staff that had no role. However, he did not have the power to make anyone redundant, as this is a decision for the new Council.
The financial assessment would include the possibilities for outsourcing and sharing services with the SCC. In the latter context, the need for healing between Noosa and the SCC was already well recognised by SCC staff – such recognition would take a bit longer with some. Shared services would need to demonstrate a benefit to both Councils. For example, the SCC will probably want to use the Noosa tip, so a commercial arrangement would need to be struck – taking into account issues for the Noosa community such as the capacity of the tip and its lifetime.
No significant town planning changes relating to Noosa would be made between now and 1 January, so there was no danger of changes to height limits etc “slipping through”. While development applications will continue to be processed in the lead up to 1/1/14 these will be assessed against the Noosa Planning Scheme and Peter was not aware of any significant applications in the pipeline. Noosa would bear the costs of excising the Noosa Planning Scheme from the SCC plan.
Peter hoped that the total cost of de-amalgamation would be less than the QTC estimate of $15-20 million. The largest single item would be ITC, where Peter would be looking for savings, for example from the use of cloud computing.
Rates notices would be issued in February as usual. As the law currently stands, these rates would be based on a rate in the dollar set by the SCC budget but this may change before the end of the year to permit the new Noosa Council to possibly change the rate in the dollar – this could allow the costs of de-amalgamation to be spread over 18 months rather than one year. Clearly, the newly-elected Noosa Council would be very busy in its first few weeks.
Peter said that he was very keen to keep the Noosa community informed. He was well aware of the strength of that community and indeed that was a prime reason for his decision to apply for the permanent CEO position. He would be setting up a Noosa Council website. He was happy to meet organisations such as FON on a regular basis and for FON to publish the content of those meetings on its website, in the press etc.
Jim Berardo thanked Peter for his time and positive attitude and noted that Peter had a challenging task ahead of him. Jim added that it was essential that people put the past behind them, so that Noosa and the SCC could work together as good neighbours.
David Crisafulli, the Minister for Local Government announced today the appointment of Peter Franks as the Transfer Manager for Noosa’s de-amalgamation from the Sunshine Coast Council. Mr. Franks is well qualified for the position having played a key role in the de-amalgamation of Mansfield from the Delitite Council in Victoria. He was also the CEO of the Mackay Council during Colin Meng’s (the Boundaries Commissioner) term as Mayor.
Additionally there will a Noosa Advisory committee formed to assist Mr Franks with local knowledge. This committee will consist of Glen Elmes, a representative from the Noosa Chamber of Commerce, one from the Cooroy Chamber and a representative from Tourism Noosa which is good but we would have preferred a bit broader representation on this committee. As the CFO of the Sunshine Coast Council reminded us, all the costs including time spent on the de-amalgamation process by his staff will be charged to the new Noosa council as will Mr. Franks remuneration so the Advisory Committee will have to be on its toes.
All in all Peter Franks appears to be well qualified for the job and with the support of the Advisory Committee should ensure Noosa’s assets and liabilities are identified and distributed appropriately. One more step in our long journey toward regaining our Council.
Noosa has declared its independence from the Regional Council in the most decisive way with over 80% of voters shouting YES on Saturday the 9th of March.
The result was an illustration of ‘People Power’ working together to rectify a wrong imposed upon us, against our will, by an out of touch former government. By removing Noosa’s council of over 100 years our democratic right to elect a council representing the interests of Noosa and its residents was taken in one foul swoop. Yet some said “get on with it and make the best of a raw deal”. Fortunately the Noosa community thought otherwise and over the past 6 years have fought for the return of their democratic right to self govern.
During the latter stages of the campaign virtually all local associations and organisations came out in support of our final objective, the return of Noosa’s council. During my days with Budget we displayed a sign saying “Teamwork to take us to the top” and never was this more applicable than in our campaign to get the council back.
The hundreds of volunteers who have played such a significant role in this victory, I can only say thank you thank you thank you because without you we wouldn’t have succeeded.
For me to personally witnessing the enthusiastic happy crowd that came to cast their vote on Saturday was reward in its self for it demonstrated the old Noosa spirit was alive and well. Happy voters, their kids and dogs descended upon the polling booths laughing and sharing their excitement with friends and neighbors like it was Show Day. Only bigger and better.
The other interesting aspect of this poll that really blew me away was the enthusiasm of the young and first time voters. We were led to believe this demographic was apathetic and couldn’t care less about the restoration of our council. Well let me tell you this wasn’t the case at all. They cared and expressed themselves accordingly. Never underestimate our youth.
Throughout our campaign we have been so fortunate to have the support of our media, the two local papers and Community Radio. They all played a valuable part in enabling us to get a clear and concise message across to all. From Friends of Noosa’s perspective we must profusely thank the team at Noosa Today, our independent newspaper, for their support and in particular allowing me the space to publish a weekly article dealing with issues relating to de-amalgamation.
We are also deeply grateful to over 200 FON members who made financial donations enabling us to run a comprehensive marketing campaign utilizing television, radio and press over the final weeks of the campaign.
Finally, my most important thanks go to each and every one of you who cast your ballot in this historic election. You were given the opportunity to determine Noosa’s future and after weighing up all the facts came down on preserving this wonderful place for future generations. Well-done Noosa.
Now all we have to do is ensure we create the worlds best council and we shouldn’t settle for anything less.
Friends of Noosa
In a couple of days Noosa will have the opportunity to decide its future. By voting YES we will be able to create a 21st Century Council with the latest technology, employing Noosa people looking after Noosa interests.
During the past few weeks have we had a series of Forums providing opportunities for residents to express their views on issues most important to them and to describe the sort of council they would like to see emerge after de-amalgamation.
Meanwhile, The Great Big Regional Council has been active trying to convince us to stay with them because they are so good. Their expensive 60-second advertisement, paid for by coast ratepayers, has been cunningly designed to promote their achievements with a particular focus on all the good things they have done for Noosa. Trying to be too clever by half they have ended up with an annoying, some might say grating, piece of propaganda aimed at getting a NO vote, without actually saying don’t vote for de-amalgamation.
It seems the Mayor has been so busy trying to persuade Noosa voters to stay with his ‘big spending, big taxing’ council he hasn’t had the time to oversee the process required to get financial relief for businesses and farmers in the Pomona and Kin Kin area who lost so much during the recent floods. While Bundaberg and other effected areas have already received payments from the state government to help them through this difficult time Pomona and Kin Kin are still waiting.
On top of that the Boundaries Commissioner has been sending out letters and running advertisements reminding us we are required to vote on the 9th of March on whether to de-amalgamate the former Noosa shire from the Regional Council. Then in an unprecedented manoeuver he goes on to tell us how much it will cost, using disputed figures noted by a disclaimer in his own report by Queensland Treasury, who say “QTC has not independently verified the information in this report so it should not be relied upon as being accurate and complete”. Clearly, the Boundaries Commissioner is doing his utmost to discourage de-amalgamation.
So what’s new? We have had the odds stacked against us from the very first day this campaign began in 2006, yet here we are with this unprecedented opportunity to re-establish a Noosa Council. How good is that?
But please understand we need more than a simple majority because it’s vitally important the new council has overwhelming community support as the one thing we don’t want is a divided community over the setting up of a new council. Fortunately the pre voting exit polls indicate a YES vote of around 80% still we want it to be even higher. So Noosa lets make a huge statement so the rest of Australia can see and hear of our commitment and dedication to preserving this extraordinary place.
After the polls close on Saturday night please join us for a relaxed after poll get together to hear the outcome of the days voting. Come to Main Beach in front of the Surf Club and join with the Festival of Surf party who will have in place facilities for food and drink until 9:00PM.
See you there.
Noosayes. Bob Ansett
Article in the business section of the Australian featuring the Noosa de-amalgamation vote.
POWERFUL business executives and self-made billionaires have long made the wealthy Queensland resort town of Noosa their second home. But the cashed-up elite are now delving into the local business and political scene, leading the charge to get Noosa de-amalgamated from the mega Sunshine Coast Regional Council 40km down the coast at Maroochydore, at a compulsory referendum next Saturday.
Like many of Noosa’s 40,000 residents, high-profile locals including…. Read article here
If you cannot see the full Australian article use this link then click on the article in the Google news search. http://goo.gl/sRZYU
Please join us after the poll closes on Saturday night 9th March (6:00PM) at Main Beach in front of the Surf Club as we wait for and hear the polling results.
There will be a bar and food up until 9:00pm as part of the Festival of Surfing event open to all.
See you on the beach.
If the Noosa hinterland has a heart and soul, it’s Jodie Williams.
Jodie is a chef, caterer, sustainable farmer, breeder of quarter-horses, chemical free drought-master cattle, free-range muscovy ducks, pigs and chickens.
She produces the Black Ant range of gourmet products. Jodie is about to open a local produce store and cafe that will be the heart of Kin Kin, and she’s a mum.
Jodie is part of our campaign because she’s passionate about her beautiful hinterland and the strong community around her. She’s determined to protect this with a local Noosa council back in place.
With just over a week to go before Noosa voters go to the Polls and make the most Important decision they are ever likely to make about Noosa’s future, it’s time to once again remind everyone why Friends of Noosa have fought relentlessly over the past 6 years to get our council back.
There are many arguments being put forward at the moment on a myriad of issues but they all pale into insignificance when compared with the primary reason for this lengthy campaign.
The overwhelming reason for getting our council back is so Noosa residents once more determine the future of this magnificent place where most of us have chosen to live. At the moment we have 2 councilors on a council of 13, which means people from the southern end of the coast with little or no knowledge about Noosa, its history its culture and community spirit have been vested with the responsibility of making decisions on our behalf.
Eleven councilors who know next to nothing about Noosa? How could this be? It’s a good question illustrating that even in democracies things can be manipulated to suit the needs of rapacious politicians. Life isn’t always fair! We were forced into amalgamating with two other coastal towns even though 96% of Noosa voters opposed it. Then to rub dirt into the wound we were made to pay the cost of amalgamation. Now, having earned the right to re-establish a Noosa council we are told Noosa ratepayers must pay all costs associated with de-amalgamation. They got us coming and going.
As unfair as this may be we believe it’s an affordable price to regain our democratic right to decide the future of this extraordinary place where we are privileged to live and enjoy. A place that has received world wide recognition as a biosphere reserve and recently described in Gourmet Traveler as being ‘priceless’.
We simply cannot afford to any longer sub-out Noosa’s future to a bunch of ‘carpetbaggers’ from the south that will ultimately exploit Noosa’s riches. Yes, it can be argued this hasn’t happened as yet but we have been fortunate that the very threat of de-amalgamation from this Great Big Council, has tempered their lust for the ‘harmonisation’ and exploitation of Noosa. But should they succeed with their NO vote campaign all restraints will be removed so it will be open slather destroying all that has made this place so priceless’.
From what I have garnered a large majority of Noosa residents have like me chosen to live here because they wanted to escape big city life and all that it entails. So the thought of satisfying Mayor Jamieson’s ambition of creating one big Sunshine Coast city is certainly an anathema to me and I hope most of you.
Noosayes on the 9th of March.