There’s a reason we don’t ask kids to mark their own exam papers. Outgoing Mayor Clare Stewart this week marked herself on her list of 10 promises made in her 2020 election campaign.
And guess what? “It shows that overwhelmingly the people of Noosa can be satisfied that they have received what was promised ahead of the election in 2020.” Umm, right.
The list was unambitious, to say the least, with just one promise on the environment, which related to technology to reduce landfill.
Back in the real world, Noosa Matters readers may have a less generous view of our one-term mayor.
Environment. Fail. Consistently voted against plans to turn around the long-term decline in the health of the Noosa River, including the successful Oyster Reef project and attempts to give Noosa Council a little more say in managing our river.
Council Management. Fail. A questionable choice as Council CEO who jumped ship after just 14-months in the job. This and a series of ‘brain drain’ departures have left the Council in need of a serious jump start in senior management and culture.
Financial management. Fail. This term of Noosa Council has gouged ratepayers with rate increases far higher than inflation. The total bank balance (after allowing for restricted funds) has increased from $40 million in 2020 to a staggering $74 million at 30 June 2023 as shown in the Annual Report approved by the Auditor General. That’s more than the $65 million residents will pay in general rates this year. Our Council is awash with so much cash it could STOP CHARGING GENERAL RATES for a year and still have a healthy bank balance.
Tourism Noosa now busy selling Tourism Noosa
Speaking of self-congratulatory waffle. An embattled Tourism Noosa has been increasingly under fire for its large ratepayer subsidy of $2.6m each year and for being out-of-step with residents who view Noosa as primarily a place to live, not a market. So, with that in mind, who thought it was a good idea to get Noosa Today to publish (We don’t know what they paid, but at market rates about $9,000) a virtually unreadable, small-print, six-page “Letter to the community” defending itself and explaining what a marvelous job it does? Can the person (not a TN employee) who actually read all this poorly drafted waffle please let us know who you are.
Was it an attempt to purchase some more positive coverage from the local rag, or did they just have a bag of money left unspent after the Tourism Noosa Christmas party? Some gratuitous advice…how about working harder to listen to the community, focus on marketing Noosa as a fragile, beautiful, low-key environment that we must all protect – including and especially tourists. And stop going to absurd lengths to tell us how good you think you are.
Dunes are not party venues
On the positive side, earlier this year Tourism Noosa did listen to community feedback when it pushed out one of its glossy pictures showing what a hoot it is to come here and picnic in our dunes. You know, the dunes bushcare volunteers spend thousands of hours trying to protect and educate people to avoid stomping on. Those dunes.
TN got the message and quickly removed the marketing picture. Now, if only our local Photography businesses would get the message too. It’s not cool to trample the dunes.
Sign of the times
The latest street sign SNAFU was fixed after we pointed it out in our last issue. If only more of Noosa’s issues could be sorted out this quickly.
A Council Christmas turkey
Finally, the single most cringe-worthy Noosa Council production last year (and there was plenty to choose from) was their comically out-of-tune version of Santa Claus is coming to town;
You better watch out, you better not cry
Don’t be a goosa, I’m telling you why
Sant Claus is coming to Noosa.
Now, admittedly, it’s not easy finding a rhyme for Noosa. But, Goosa?
Will Noosa Council do better this year? We can’t wait to find out.
Watch last year’s Christmas video at your peril. You have been warned.