By Margaret Maccoll
Sandy Bolton was officially declared Noosa MP today and aims to get “straight to work”.
“I’ve got a whole community that’s excited. They can’t wait to get going,” she said.
“I have a large task list.”
One item on the list for Noosa’s first Independent elected to State Parliament is the future of the TAFE college at Tewantin which she aims to get up and running and where Ms Bolton was declared the election winner by Noosa returning officer Colin Brown.
Ms Bolton thanked voters and supporters and thanked Glen Elmes for his years as Noosa MP, wishing him and his family well.
She will be heading off to orientation for new politicians or “pollie school” at Parliament House in Brisbane from Wednesday to learn the ropes and plans to re-open the Noosa MP’s office at its current location in Noosa Civic just before Christmas.
“This is a victory for getting things done and marks the beginning of an era when our community will move to claim its fair share of State resources,” she said.
“Noosa has for too long been perceived as a place that could be safely ignored by respective governments.
“The truth is that it is more than just a beautiful environment and an upmarket tourism destination.
“We have issues in the electorate that many Queenslanders will recognise – problems of housing affordability, unsafe roads, a vulnerable economy and social issues that make us far from an elite sanctuary.
“I will continue to connect and consult because there are plenty of things a local MP cannot do without the backing of an engaged and energetic community.”
Glen Elmes congratulated Ms Bolton and reflected on his 11 years in office and its highlights.
“It was a real hoot to be a minister but the greatest pleasure was being a local member,” he said.
“It’s the contact you have with the local people.”
“They have usually fallen through the cracks. You’re their last port of call as the local State Member.”
Mr Elmes recalled one young sportsman who had been badly injured and needed surgery. He said he’d had “about 40 operations” but still had gauze holding him together across his midriff and could communicate his thoughts only via a laptop.
After visiting him Mr Elmes went away with some of his printed pages of thoughts, some suicidal, and took his case to the Health Minister.
“Just spend half an hour going through these pages,” he told him.
“We got him his operation and now he’s walking around enjoying life,” he said.
“It’s those things you are able to do knowing you have a short cut through to the department or minister. That’s one that always stood out.”
Mr Elmes plans to take a break over the Christmas shut down before looking to the future and has a few areas he’d like to investigate working with some of the organisations he was involved with as an MP.
“I’m too bloody young to retire and I’m not going away,” he said.
“When I was minister I made some great friends in the multicultural community and with refugees. You see these people who come to this country and bring a passion and drive to get a job. They need help and they want to be helped. That’s always something that’s intrigued me.
“I’ve got my favourite footy club and there are other organisations I’ve been involved with.
“You won’t find me hard to find.”