For all the challenges Noosa faces – and there are plenty of them – our Shire is one of the most keenly sought places in the world to live in or visit.
Understanding how this came to be can help us navigate the rocky path that lies ahead.
Migrating families are making the astute lifestyle investment choice to relocate to Noosa Shire, enriching themselves and the Noosa Shire community in the process. Increasing numbers of visitors continue to fall in love with Noosa and return year after year. And those of us who have been here for a while now continue to live our Noosa dream.
This is not happening by chance. Visionary activism by Noosa Parks Association since 1962 has persuaded local, state and federal governments to legislate in ways that have shaped Noosa Shire as an irresistible magnet for residents and visitors.
Our vision for the Noosa region has been, and continues to be, the realisation of a network of human scale communities nestled within a continuous National Park estate running from Coolum to Kgari/Fraser Island. We are now within touching distance of realising this.
The Noosa region’s legislated National Park estate has been progressively extended from 240 hectares in 1962 to todays’ 80,000 plus hectares, while successive Noosa Shire legislated town plans have enshrined strong environmental protections, a population or development cap, a ban on high rise, and human scale development.
For 60 years NPA has consciously chosen a legislation-based strategy for a reason: legislation declaring National Park is almost impossible to reverse at the state government level, and legislated town planning provisions that protect and enhance residents’ lifestyles and property values are very difficult for a rogue Noosa Council to change. Too many residents have made their lifestyle investment choices based on such town planning provisions.
In coming editions of Noosa Matters I will be recounting the behind-the-scenes story of how NPA has achieved this. I will also be exploring a range of key challenges and legislative reforms that NPA and Noosa residents now need to press Noosa Council, Tourism Noosa, and the state government to address, if Noosa is to remain attractive to residents and visitors over the decades to come.
I’ll be exploring how Noosa could continue enjoying its current success while avoiding the looming prospect of being loved to death, and how the Queensland government’s intention to progressively transfer management of the Noosa region’s three key National Parks (Noosa, Tewantin and Cooloola) to the region’s traditional owners can be shaped to increase the chances of win-win outcomes for traditional owners as well as residents and visitors.
My motivation in writing in Noosa Matters is my conviction that Noosa residents need to be aware of the what and why of the legislative protections NPA has won for the Noosa region over the past sixty years, as a basis of achieving further legislative gains required if Noosa is to remain a delightful place to live or visit.