Deputy Wilkie steps up for mayoral bid

Noosa deputy mayor Frank Wilkie has announced he will run for mayor at the March 2024 local government election, on a platform of ‘residents first’.

Cr Wilkie has spent a total of 13 years as a Noosa councillor in both pre- and post- de-amalgamation, with six of them as deputy mayor.

By that yardstick he will be regarded by most residents as a safe pair of hands in uncertain times, while some critics may question whether the erudite, softly-spoken former journalist and teacher is prepared to step up and confront the near-existential challenges the community of Noosa faces.

Cr Wilkie said he will work to restore that sense of community in Noosa “in the face of unprecedented development, housing affordability and cost of living pressures”.

“Noosa is a community first and a destination second,” he said.

“Now more than ever, we need our council to hold fast to core principles while improving delivery of quality services and protecting the natural assets and low-key lifestyle we all love.”

These core principles are enshrined in the 2020 Noosa planning scheme, which has been under attack as much from within in recent times, having been voted against its acceptance by the current mayor Clare Stewart and fellow first-term councillor Amelia Lorentson.

With Ms Stewart recently announcing after only one mayoral term she will not re-contest, instead aiming to topple independent Noosa MP Sandy Bolton at the October 2024 state election, Cr Wilkie is seeking to return the council to a more stable footing.

He said the planning scheme had massive community support “which [has] protected residents’ lifestyle and environment”, but in this term has been attacked by a minority bloc of councillors – and that needed to change at the next election.

Almost every meeting also sees a range of councillors having to declare potential conflicts of interest, leaving decisions made without full council authority.

“With so many pressures seeking to undermine what Noosa is, we don’t have the latitude for [all these] now.”

One major challenge for the next mayor is a state government SEQ Regional Plan review of population projections out to 2046, where Noosa now faced a potential 18000 increase in residents, with up to 3000 in the next three years.

“If imposed, this level of intensification – 76,000 population, as opposed to the 56,000 here now – would be like experiencing peak holiday period all year round,” Cr Wilkie said.

“These targets are neither responsible nor realistic.

“As per the current SEQ plan projections, the Noosa Planning Scheme has created capacity for 64,000 by 2041, not 76,000 by 2046.”


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