Watson, Mr B, All-Terrain Vehicle - Private Members Statement

Hon. GW ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier) (2.39 pm): All members in this place have stories of local constituents who stand out from the crowd because of their community commitment and generosity. This afternoon I inform the House about one such Noosa constituent. His name is Bill Watson, but he is known to Noosa residents and thousands of regular visitors simply as ‘Hey Bill’. ‘Hey Bill’ has been a Noosa institution for 44 years. While he is an obvious attraction on Noosa Main Beach, he has been quietly achieving in many other ways. ‘Hey Bill’s’ distinctive quad bike and its numerous trailers are a regular sight up and down the beach, and the cool drinks, ice-creams and snow cones he sells are a welcome relief to beach goers. He has been at the centre of the Noosa community for decades.

A little while ago, ‘Hey Bill’ turned his mind to his latest project and started to put aside 50c from every drink that he sold to fund a beach vehicle to be used by local police officers. He began tallying up and putting aside the ‘few bob each day’, as he called it, and eventually had enough to fund a fully equipped, beach-ready Atomik ATX 400 all-terrain vehicle. The all-terrain vehicle will help police prevent, detect and solve crime, as well as providing access to hard-to-reach areas during an emergency. The vehicle will allow officers to conduct patrols along the beach and in the surrounding national park, which previously was only able to be done to a limited capacity. I thank the Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club for providing a facility to store the vehicle and Kennards Hire Bli Bli for providing a suitable trailer for transportation. The all-terrain vehicle is a great addition to the equipment that supports local policing and it is unique.

This is just the latest act in a lifetime of giving back to the community that ‘Hey Bill’ loves. I thank him for his generosity in providing a vehicle that will benefit police officers in their day-to-day duties. The all-terrain vehicle will provide a complementary service to the trial of segways, which is currently underway in Noosa. In various locations, trials of segways have assisted officers in the investigation of robberies, break and enters, wilful damage and street offences. Officers involved in the Noosa trial have said that the use of segways has been equally beneficial in their day-to-day work. ‘Hey Bill’s’ all-terrain vehicle and the segways have certainly made their mark and the area stretching from the national park to the river mouth is now much safer for the community in Noosa to enjoy.