The Noosa & Hinterland branch of the Queensland Greens recently submitted a pre-election survey to all Noosa Council candidates. The survey consisted of five questions focused on the candidates’ aspirations, attitudes to the climate emergency declaration, sustainable transportation, legal challenges and conflict of interest. We thank the eleven candidates who made the time in their busy pre-election schedules to provide comprehensive responses.
Most heartening was the strong commitment by almost all respondents to the protection and enhancement of Noosa’s reputation as a leader in environmental, economic and social sustainability. That reputation underpins Noosa’s position as an attractive place to live and work, and as a desirable destination for international and domestic tourists.
In most candidates’ responses, that commitment translated into support for Noosa Council’s declaration of a climate emergency (provided it spurred some appropriate action), promotion of sustainable forms of private and public transport (whilst acknowledging some practical obstacles), legal action where necessary to defend the Noosa Plan (with some questions about costs) and appropriate handling of any potential conflicts of interest.
A need for increased engagement with Noosa’s younger citizens, including imaginative initiatives to create employment in the ‘new economy’, and a desire for more transparency in Council decisions and actions are possible issues for the newly elected council.
We applaud one candidate’s commitment to finding a viable, sustainable and affordable solution for food and organic waste so that this material can be diverted from going into landfill where it contributes to methane emissions and ensuring that Council better engages in the circular economy.
In some candidates’ responses, published material and public statements there are some worrying aspects. Some have a much narrower and less visionary sense of their role if elected. A few seem to have a token attitude to the Council’s declaration of a climate emergency and a limited sense of what sustainability means. Some are not whole-hearted in supporting the Noosa Plan, and at least one criticizes the Council expenditure on legal fees to defend the Plan.
The Greens are not standing a candidate in this Council election, acknowledging the strong feeling amongst many Noosa residents that party politics should be kept out of local government. However, given most candidates’ responses to our questions, we are confident that Noosa voters have ample opportunities to elect a Council that will continue to protect and enhance the special qualities of our shire.