Mayor Tony Wellington answer public questions during meeting time.
Mayor Tony Wellington answer public questions during meeting time.

‘Very little to gain’ from SEQ Olympic bid

NOOSA has “very little to gain” by joining the SEQ Council of Mayors despite one local’s concern it has turned its back on a share of a $58 billion infrastructure windfall by officially joining the local government 2032 Olympic Games push.

Pomona community activist Brian O’Connor has again used the Noosa Council ordinary meeting public question time to take the council to task, but Mayor Tony Wellington has rejected the need to be part of these “city and population growth-based issues”.

Mr O’Connor asked: “Has not our shire lost out on a share of the reported $58 billion in infrastructure investment, economic and other benefits that will flow from the signing of the City Deal involving all other local government areas in southeast Queensland, except Noosa?”

Cr Wellington said Noosa pulled out of the SEQ Council of Mayors in 2015 because it was not receiving value for money.

“It is highly doubtful that Noosa can benefit from City Deals in terms direct funding for public infrastructure, even if City Deals does ultimately come to fruition,” the mayor said.

“The policy agenda for the SEQ Council of Mayors focuses on city and population growth-based issues and does not align strategically with Noosa Council’s future priorities and needs.

“Not all South East Queensland Councils are a member of the SEQ Council of Mayors. The Gold Coast City Council, for example, is also not a member,” Cr Wellington said.

He said he regularly speaks with other mayors of the SEQ Region “whenever I need to”.

“I deal with them all at various functions and forums such as the SEQ Regional Planning Committee meetings of which Noosa is a member and at LGAQ (Local Government Association of Queensland) events including the annual conference.

“In the end, the tens of thousands of dollars required annually to participate in the SEQ Council of Mayors is not considered to be money well spent, and can be put to better use on behalf of our residents without any significant loss of engagement opportunities with other councils in SEQ,” Cr Wellington said.

Pomona advocate Brian O'Connor becomes the first person to put a question to Noosa Council in its new public question time.
Pomona advocate Brian O'Connor becomes the first person to put a question to Noosa Council in its new public question time.

Mr O’Connor also asked what tangible outcomes have been achieved by forging closer ties with the Gympie Regional Council, rather than the SEQ Council of Mayors?

Acting council CEO Michael Shave said Noosa was also progressing discussions between the two councils to identify opportunities to maximise the use of plant and fleet through shared arrangements.

“Gympie council have been very supportive during our local disaster events. For example, during the recent fires, Gympie offered immediate access if needed to their heavy plant such as graders and dozers etc,” Mr Shave said.

“They also offered their evacuation centres as back-up should they have been needed.

“Both Council CEOs periodically attend the respective Audit and Risk Committee meetings.

“This active participation allows each CEO to contribute positively at the meeting and also to consider improvements to their own Council’s governance and risk framework,” he said.