Noosa Council, Election

Hon. GW ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier) (2.35 pm): The Noosa shire is just over two months away from being restored to the position it enjoyed as a stand-alone local government area before the Beattie Labor government abolished it. Noosa residents will go to the polls on 9 November to elect its first council under the re-established Noosa shire. The election will be the last piece in the puzzle of restoring the former Noosa shire.

The installation of a renewed Noosa council from 1 January will be a proud moment for the many people who have fought for so long to have the council restored. That keenness to see the shire restored is reflected in the large field of candidates for election. Nominations closed at midday today, and I am advised that there are 19 nominees for six available councillor positions and there are two candidates for the position of mayor.

The Electoral Commission will need to validate all of these nominations and will formally declare eligible candidates tomorrow. I have every confidence that Noosa includes people of the highest calibre who can form a council which will be innovative, forward-looking and fair as it deals with the range of issues and opportunities facing our community.

Voting will be compulsory, but I doubt the people of Noosa need any sort of compulsion to make their way to a polling station. This is something Noosa residents have been waiting for. I would like to place on record here my thanks to the many organisations and individuals who have contributed to making the restoration of the Noosa shire a reality. Firstly, thank you to the Noosa Independence Alliance, a group made up predominantly of the Friends of Noosa and the Noosa Parks Association. They provided the catalyst for deamalgamation around which many others could gather and add their effort to the cause.

I would also like to thank the many thousands of Noosa residents who signed petitions and attended rallies. A particular group which deserves recognition is the 8,000 people—mostly from Noosa—who marched through the streets of Brisbane and demonstrated out the front of parliament in support of Noosa. I was very proud indeed to lead that march.

Noosa was steamrolled by the Beattie government in 2007, and the vote on 9 November will be the final step in a six-year fight by the people of Noosa to take back control of their destiny. It is now up to each and every resident who is eligible to vote to make sure that the mayor and six councillors we elect are up to the job and capable of guiding our community into the future. I have every confidence that that will be achieved and that Noosa council will resume its place as one of the state’s most innovative and community focused local government areas.