By Rod Ritchie, Cara President
There’s always two sides to every story, and only one side was featured in Noosa Today, 11 june.
In recent years Tourism Noosa has been operating without meaningful Council input and without residents having a say in how the money might be spent in their best interests, not just what suits the industry. Now is the time to let Tourism Noosa become self-sufficient financially, like other industry bodies.
Since Council now considers tourism and economic development core business, they have proposed that they be funded by general rates that would be applied only to those properties that are currently paying the Tourism and Economic Levy.
This is a necessary change to the transparency and protection of how Noosa Council accounts for ratepayers’ Tourism Levy funds, and if they are being used in the best interest of tourism and the economy, businesses and community in Noosa.
It provides Council with the necessary power to decide the best way funds are spent on promoting the tourism industry. Times are changing, top-heavy tourism bodies are being replaced by more nimble media consultants which don’t have the inbuilt inefficiencies of a cumbersome, publicly funded entity such as Tourism Noosa.
Council will now be able to make tourism in Noosa more on the terms that suit the Shire, and can call tenders for tourism marketing services that meet these aims.
Plus, Council is committed to providing high-quality tourism infrastructure, and this is at a substantial extra cost to ratepayers. Put simply, residents and ratepayers are going without essential infrastructure at the expense of an industry which is not pulling its weight financially.
The Noosa community requires complete transparency and answers on how tourism is managed in the future:
– Can Council provide the exact breakdown of the total funds being provided to tourism in Noosa, and how they plan to source that funding?
– Since tourism is a core responsibility, when will specific tourism infrastructure appear in the accounts so that the true extent of council’s spending on tourism is evident?
-Noosa Council should make a public commitment to reduce funding to Tourism Noosa over the next five years with the aim that it become fully self-sufficient by then.
-Noosa Council needs to audit the impact from tourism on our economy and support alternative industries that don’t have the same impact on resident amenity.
Tourism Noosa is essentially asking that it continue as a monopoly without the checks and balances that ensure that the visitor and resident experience can co-exist. After twenty years it’s time for a change.
Cooroy Area Residents Association