ELECTION 2024. Never mind all the blah-blah, who will save Noosa’s virtue?

I was struck recently by an advertisement. Odd, because I normally ignore ads in print or social media. And I don’t watch free-to-air TV or commercial radio because of the commercials. 

But this one little advert did its job superbly well. It not only made me sit up and take notice, but the stunningly simple message spurred me to write this piece. It was for a well-known real estate firm, tucked away at the top right-hand corner of the Noosa Today masthead; we newspaper hacks used to call them “lugs” back in the day. 

It carried the firm’s logo and just five simple words: ‘There is only ONE Noosa.’ Wow, I thought, damn right! Noosa is unique. Special. Without equal. Then came another thought: so why are some numpties hellbent on making Noosa like a lot of other places? Places that suck? Like Surfers. Or Hervey Bay.

Those feverish thoughts guided my elbow as I flicked through the various local council candidates’ public utterances and flyers, making a few notes as I went along. I hoped to find at least a few who might echo the ‘lug’ slogan and build a vision around it. Instead, here’s what I found (forgive me for yawning at this point because I know what’s coming!):

“In the transformative “Wake-up” phase, we embrace an integral evolution. Awakening to a higher level of consciousness becomes a beacon for Noosa Council, inspiring spiritual growth, mindfulness, and integral development.” And I believe in unicorns and the Tooth Fairy! 

Here are a few more blah-blah statements made by various candidates … 

“I will be an active Mayor who gets things done and who talks about the hard stuff as well as the good stuff.” Phew, Donald Trump couldn’t have said it better.

“I will use my leadership capacity to not shy away from informed decision-making and delivery.” Sounds like that one was AI generated.

“Better public transport, road network upgrades, congestion and parking continue to be a challenge to advocate for and deliver improvements.” Pass me the smelling salts!

Or, how about this clunker? “My comprehensive vision for Noosa encompasses not only the protection of the environment but also a commitment to community, sustainable business growth, and active and engaging lifestyles.” Sheesh.

Another candidate declares that “Parking, Parking, Parking” is/are the main issue(s) to be addressed if elected. Sure, parking is a serious issue, but it is merely a consequence of a much bigger problem – Tourism Overkill – that causes constipated traffic flow which, in turn, leads to the parking problems. What I want to know is –what big idea has he/she/they got to fix that?

And there’s the nub of the problem. All we’ve had from the wannabes in the campaign period so far is a mishmash of away-with-the-fairy rhubarb, and motherhood and pavlova piffle. 

What we needed to hear was a Vision. An agenda-setting statement of intent. A ‘where-we-need-to-be-in-10-years-time’ sort of proclamation. It didn’t have to be up there with Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’, just something that both the council and the community could sign on to and get behind for the next four years. We needed to be given strategies to fix the many problems that endless costly reviews and reports and consultations have failed to address. 

Problems like tourism overkill. In fact, I don’t think I saw the word ‘tourism’ used once in the slurry of candidate verbosity. Perhaps they feel intimidated by the alleged alchemists at Tourism Noosa who brag about turning $2.5m of ratepayer funding into $1.7 billion in revenue? But how much of that loot actually comes back to benefit residents? To fix the roads and roundabouts and other infrastructure that take a pounding from the relentless stream of visitors. To police the STAs? To clean the pavements polluted by vomit and other bodily fluids. To fund a fleet of smaller electric public buses to replace the fleet of noisy, fume-belching, behemoths that constantly swarm around Noosa like angry bees with hardly a passenger on board? 

As I and others have previously written, Noosa now stands at a crossroads. And ratepayers desperately need leaders who will pressure the state government to dial back its plans to force the thick end of another 20,000 people into our snug little Shire over the next twenty years. We need leaders who will fight tooth and nail to protect our patch of paradise from predatory developers. And we need leaders who will stop the STA epidemic in Noosa becoming like the current STI plague affecting young people throughout Australia.

Above all, we need leaders who will adopt the ‘lug’ legend as a battle cry: ‘There’s only ONE Noosa.’ It would look just fine on banners and placards.

I’ll end with a quote from the director of a famous art gallery in Florence, Italy on the huge impact of tourism: “Once a city becomes a prostitute, it is difficult to become a virgin again.”

Residents and ratepayers deserve to know this: Who among the candidates will fight to maintain Noosa’s virtue? 


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Well done for taking the clear and obvious point about our lovely town and shedding the spotlight on the clueless Pavlova piffle being spouted by some of the people who are asking for our endorsement to determine what happens to Noosa. Yes, of course, what you wrote was highly entertaining but equally incisive. I only wish more twaddle could be nipped in the bud before it becomes “gospel”, an example being the woeful inability to understand what is really going to happen if you enjoy fishing in Noosa – you’ll still be able to fish! Nae bother!

  2. Avatar

    One of the better articles I’ve read in this publication. I feel that most are steeped in bias and scratching someone’s back. I feel this touches on what a lot of us feel. How are candidates going to deliver rather than just motto’s.

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