Private Members' Statements:   Retiring Mayors

Mr ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (2.33 pm): In light of the local government elections due to take place this Saturday, I take this opportunity to mention two retiring mayors, one from my second favourite place in Queensland, Emerald, and the other from my home of Noosa. This Saturday, my very good friend Peter Maguire, known universally as Maggot, will retire after 28 years in local government, on both the Emerald Shire Council and the Central Highlands Regional Council, the last 16 of those as mayor. Emerald and the region owes Peter Maguire an enormous debt for his service and promotion of a community I love dearly.

I also thank and highlight my deep personal regard for retiring Noosa mayor, Noel Playford. Noel was the chairman of the Noosa Shire Council between 1988 and 1997. He thought he had retired from public life until the Bligh government and, in particular, then Treasurer Andrew Fraser decided that they would meddle in our local community affairs and forcefully amalgamate Noosa into the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

In a way I should thank them, because that fostered a belief that a small community, justifiably angry and with passion and determination, can achieve anything. It does that by having community leaders who are prepared to put themselves forward at the expense of almost anything else in their lives on order to carry the argument or, should I say, fight. Noel Playford, along with others, was at the forefront of the successful Free Noosa campaign. His long and extensive background in local government gave him that vital edge. It is now history that the Noosa community won that fight and we celebrated the third anniversary of that vote last Wednesday.

Another piece of history closes this Saturday, 19 March and that is the two-year stewardship of Noel Playford as mayor after he stepped back into the public limelight to guide the rebuilding of our local authority. When standing for election, Noel said it would be only for this two-year transition period and it has been time well spent. With others, he has re-crafted our council and leaves it in good shape: money in the bank and a zero rate increase this year.

As I speak here today, I know that at Noel’s home the engine in the car is turning over. It is hooked up to the caravan and Noel’s wife, Diana, is sitting in the passenger seat, eager to get on the road. I know he is, too. I will especially miss our regular meetings, which were always open, honest and friendly. There have been some outstanding leaders in the Noosa Shire since its inception in 1910. Noel Playford deserves to be among the very best; perhaps even a little higher.