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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Govt must move fast to recognise local govt though election referendum

Posted by Steve on April 3, 2013

Constitutional recognition of local government

Federal Labor is getting dangerously close to missing the deadline to hold a referendum on local government constitutional recognition to coincide with the September election, said Greens local government spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon, following reports of NSW councils in dire need of secure federal funding to fix neglected bridges

“Federal Labor has still not given a clear indication about whether it will hold a referendum to recognise local government in the constitution”, said Senator Rhiannon.

“Time is running out to put the necessary legislation before parliament to hold the referendum.

“Educating the electorate about the importance of the referendum also needs to be top of the government’s to do list.

“Reports show there are hundreds of bridges in NSW in urgent need of repair, creating a big financial burden on councils.

“A referendum at the September federal election is necessary to secure federal funding for local councils to maintain safer roads and bridges and create sustainable transport options.

“The Greens support the federal government’s continued funding of the Roads to Recovery program.

“The referendum is key to ensuring this and other programs that involve direct payments from the Commonwealth to local governments are secure into the future,” Senator Rhiannon said.

Greens hold their own in Brisbane City Council election

Posted by Jim McDonald on April 30, 2012

What is the real result for The Greens in the Brisbane Council election – not the unsubstantiated views of the media or the failure to report?

Looking at the vote as at closing Saturday, I’ve gone through the Wards where we were represented. If we regard less that ±1.0% as holding our own, we have held our vote in 5 of the wards [26% of wards] in which The Greens had candidates. In 10 of the wards [53% of wards] we increased our vote by more than 1.0% with Bracken Ridge & Moorooka at over 2%, Walter Taylor [+4.62%], and Wishart [+3.21%].

So, in 79% of the seats in which The Greens stood candidates the vote was either steady or significantly increased.

Andrew Bartlett increased the Mayoral percentage by 2.21%.

In two wards there was a significant fall in votes [more than 5%] in Tennyson and The Gabba. In the latter, Drew Hutton had obtained 25.6% of the vote in 2008.

In the By-election for Anna Bligh’s former seat, Jo Bragg actually increased the Greens vote by 1.52% and in the present mood of the electorate that is holding our own at the very least.

The facts of the matter [subject to the usual caveats about error] as as follows:

Bracken Ridge +2.1%
Central +1.6%
Deagon +0.21%
Doboy 7.27%*
Enoggera -0.85%
Hamilton -0.18%
Holland Park -0.73%
Jamboree +1.94%
Macgregor +0.40%
Marchant +1.26%
Moorooka +2.03%
Pullenvale +1.1%
Tennyson -5.36%
The Gabba -5.13% [Drew Hutton last time at 25.64%]
The Gap +1.44%
Toowong -1.44%
Walter Taylor +4.62%
Wishart +3.21%
Wynnum Manley -2.30%

*No previous Greens candidate

Jim McDonald,
Noosa & Hinterland Greens 

Vote 1 Jim McDonald – policy statements

Posted by Jim McDonald on March 19, 2012

Catch up with Noosa Greens Candidate Jim McDonald and read what he says on various election topics.

Jim has covered a wide range of issues during the election. They include:

  • My 30 second pitch to Mary-Lou Stevens “In the elevator” on ABC Coast FM:
    Noosa voters should vote for me because I am an experienced advocate with vision.
    I’ll introduce a Private Members Bill for a plebiscite so that Noosa residents can decide on de-amalgamation.
    I want a prosperous Noosa that is prepared for the new economy and for climate change, with regional food security, a Coast served by light rail and connecting to fast trains, a region with its own renewable energy sources, and jobs in clean industries.
    I’ll push to get the Noosa GPs After Hours Service put back in the hospital to take pressure off emergency services.
    I’ll oppose any exploitation of the coal reserves under the Coast.
    And I don’t owe vested interests any favours It will be the people I owe.
  • Jim mcDonald

Jim has been activiely campaigning to get some decent representation of Noosa into the parliament. More information available on the following sites:


Election signs ban trashes democratic tradition

Posted by Jim McDonald on March 4, 2012

Election signs are a sign that democracy is at work and there is an election in place.

Signs enable parties that aren’t supported by mining billionaires, like the sitting Noosa LNP member, Hon. Glen Elmes, to have a chance at getting their message out. The LNP is supported by mining magnate Clive Palmer. The Greens are supported by small  donations from individuals.

Candidate signage is an Australian and international democratic tradition found in every Western liberal democracy. However, Glen Elmes is prepared to support his mates on the Sunshine Coast Regional Council trashing an Australian electioneering  tradition and almost certainly breaching the Local Government Act.

The Council has announced that it will limit signs in Noosa to two for each candidate.

This limitation to two signs is disrespectful of the democratic political process. Mr Elmes runs the facile visual pollution argument, and rests his case on having both won and lost elections in the absence of signage. That reasoning is irrelevant to the matter of democratic principle. Indeed, I would argue that he presents the spectacle of an elected member of Parliament supporting the Council in breaking the provisions of the Local Government Act 2009. The Act expressly prevents the Council from prohibiting signs. While the Council limits two signs to a candidate, the Council prohibits any other signs. In my view the Council is breaking the law by putting any number on election signs.

Section 36(1)(b) of the Queensland Local Government Act 2009 states, without any caveat, that “A local government must not make a local law that … (b) prohibits the placement of election signs or posters.” What is clearer than that?

That provision leaves it open to regulation about placement but not limiting the number and certainly not insulting the intelligence of the voters and the candidates who put themselves forward for public office. If the Sunshine Coast Regional Council wants some consistency about placement, then it ought to consult the reasonable guidelines issued by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Mr Elmes’s support of the two sign announcement is another example of the LNP having lost any sense of a fair go and why his party is no better than the State Labor Government which ran roughshod over the Noosa Shire. The Greens stand much closer to the great Australian social justice traditions than either party, both of which have lost their way.

Jim McDonald
Greens Candidate,
Noosa Electoral District

Greens will work to support Seniors in Noosa

Posted by Jim McDonald on February 29, 2012

The Greens candidate for Noosa, Jim McDonald, said that he would work to ensure a positive environment for seniors in the electorate.

“My approach will be to ensure that seniors get the opportunity to participate in the social, economic and political aspects of life and to maintain their independence to whatever degree they feel able.”

He said the present percentage of residents who are 65 years or older was between 12 and 15 percent and this will grow as Baby Boomers seek out Noosa as an ideal place to retire to.

“All seniors have the right to exercise plenty of choices for a fulfilling retirement; to employ, where they wished, their skills and life experience to the benefit the whole community; and to enjoy a strong local health system.

“This is what the Greens policy means when it affirms the rights of older people to live with dignity. Most retirees do not regard their life post-work as having one foot in the grave.

“The state government must play a central role in the provision, regulation and support of aged care services integrated into an accessible community-based health system in Noosa on the basis of need and not the ability to pay. The Labor Government has  resided over an increasingly dysfunctional Queensland Health and seniors are affected.

“I will use my position in the Parliament to improve services for the elderly who are frail by improving respite services to carers, supporting existing community care programs aimed at supporting older people in their own homes, increasing the number of  places in our region for aged care and retirement living, and addressing transport issues for senior’s mobility throughout the community.

“Critical to the care services that are available is increasing funding to enhance the numbers, skills and salaries of community health nurses and workers in the aged care sector to reduce the incidence of ’emergency’ care.

“We will also introduce legislation to provide free public transport to all Government Seniors and Government Concession card holders.

“Managing an inevitable increase to the number of retirees in Noosa will require expanding the scope of the Queensland Housing Affordability Strategy to include an emphasis on current and future demand for affordable housing.

“Our Seniors program is based upon the critical choice for seniors to live in their own homes where possible. The Greens will work to provide assistance to make renovations that will allow them to age in their own homes.

“The Greens and Independents have demonstrated in the several Parliaments in Australia and overseas that the cross bench can play a powerful role in cutting across the vested interests represented by the old parties.”

Jim McDonald, Noosa Greens Candidate, Media Release 27 February 2012

Noosa’s Prosperity

Posted by Jim McDonald on February 25, 2012


I have been long concerned about the economic security of the Noosa region. The following statement reflects those concerns:

Economic prosperity
The long-term economic prosperity of Noosa relies not only on retail, tourism, farming and construction but also on a diversity of small business, including information technology and appropriate manufacture. Noosa has the skill base to lead the region towards a sustainable, post-carbon economy that is consistent with the principles that have made Noosa what it is today.

If elected, I will:

  • push for an expansion of renewable energy and green industries in a program of creating long term jobs, long-term financial security for families, and long-term success for businesses committed to the future of Noosa.
  • lobby for an accelerated introduction of the NBN in Noosa at reasonable rates designed to contribute towards industrial efficiency and Noosa’s ongoing prosperity; develop Noosa as a national IT niche centre.
  • encourage cooperation between small business, commercial property owners and the banks to overcome the effects of high commercial leases that weaken the viability of many small businesses, undermining profits and job security for Noosa workers.

Ever since one of my friends took his business from Noosa and established himself in the CBD of one of the capital cities, paying lower rental than for his [non-Hastings Street] premises [15% lower rental for premises 40% larger], I have been concerned about the impact of high commercial rents on the ability of Noosa businesses to survive not only the tourist cycles but also survive the impacts of broader phenomena such as the Global Financial Crisis. High commercial rentals not only adversely affect business profitability but also the financial security of employees and family units in the electorate and within the former Shire boundaries.

I do not pretend to have a solution at hand – I am not an economist – but if the electorate were to give me the responsibility of representing them I would want to be advised by groups such as the Chamber of Commerce about how we might approach such issues. At this point – recognising that many commercial investors purchased their properties at inflated prices – I have suggested that the impacts have such community importance that the current behaviour of the banks and the investors needs to be moderated in the public interest by cooperation between the three sectors. That public interest goes not only to the workers who might be employed but also to the consumers who are affected when businesses close.

I am not suggesting, of course, that high leases are the only cause for closure of businesses, but I am suggesting that – as a community – we need to look for innovative solutions to preserving and promoting Noosa’s prosperity. The above statement suggests some of my thinking, taking into account The Greens policy base [which is far too often misrepresented by our political opponents].

Much more needs to be done in concert with government agency assistance to educate businesses about the effect on their bottom line of sometimes very simple “green” practices and I would work to facilitate better awareness of business owners of such measures, particularly sharing the experiences of businesses that have successfully addressed such issues as rising power prices. Government agencies also ought to facilitate ongoing development of Noosa business owners’ skills in surviving the cyclical impacts of tourism and the broader impacts of the GFC. The cooperative underpinnings of the Chamber of Commerce movement ought to be one of the resources harnessed in such projects.

I would also support a rationalisation of red tape requirements. Often politicians seize on business complaints of red tape, but they rarely put their minds to making whatever government regulation is necessary more efficient. Instead of computerisation being used to reduce bureaucratic impositions, processes have increased the burden. It suggests to me that the design of the necessary reporting is bureaucrat-oriented rather than oriented towards assisting business owners.

I saw a complaint in a recent edition of the Sunshine Coast Daily of the Fair Work Act of the impact of business. You would not be surprised with my background that I regarded the WorkChoices legislation a blight on the Australian tradition of fairness and equity. The Fair Work Act has partially redressed that imbalance.

If I am right, small and medium sized businesses want certainty about employee entitlements and rights [and this was certainly true in my own research on SME managers]. Many SME owners are reasonably pre-occupied with managing their business and dealing with its technical aspects and requirements, but they often are ignorant of their responsibilities towards employees. If elected, I would also work to make such information easily accessible and whatever training necessary is provided for new business owners. Anecdotally, I do know that many local employees are underpaid, especially in one of the sectors. That, in my view, is not only illegal, but socially undesirable, in the long run working against Noosa’s prosperity. 

Jim McDonald
Greens Candidate, Noosa

Address on the Environment: Noosa Parks Association

Posted by Jim McDonald on

First of all, I’d like to acknowledge the Gubbi Gubbi people whose ancestors husbanded this land for aeons before my ancestors set off in ships to this continent.

I would also like to acknowledge the significant efforts of the Noosa Parks Association for 50 years of working to preserve what all generations can enjoy in a sustainable balance of environment and controlled development in Noosa and the hinterland.

This is a balance which, after all this time, remains under threat, especially from the Regional Council. Two of the three previous councils encouraged large scale high rise, transforming Caloundra, Mooloolooba, Maroochydore and Coolum while Noosa  followed Bali’s lead in keeping buildings in a perspective that respected the landscape. And the danger is ever greater because Noosa is under-represented by this Council.

I see it as my task – if I am elected – to ensure that our priorities for Noosa prevail. In addressing the five questions, I’d like to put them into a broad context because they are closely interrelated. That context includes ensuring food security in our region – and I include the Mary Valley beacuse many of you would have campaigned against the Labor proposal for Traveston Dam.

The environmental principles were clear:

  • preserve unique or endangered species,
  • promote the health of the river, and
  • protect the world heritage Ramsar wetlands in the waters of Hervey Bay and around Fraser Island.

Yet some of my political opponents who presented themselves as Traveston warriors for the lungfish, the turtles and Mary River cod are silent as the Labor Government dishes out coalmining and CSG exploration permits along Munna Creek that flows into  the Mary at a major turtle area.

”]Munna CreekI am looking at first causes here about greenhouse emissions: the gasses sequestered in coal seams that extend through our electorate.

Huge areas have been explored at Tiaro along the Mary. In the Tin Can Bay hinterland, drilling has occurred at the junction of Coondoo Creek and Tanunda Creek that flows into the Mary River estuary. Coalmining is imminent near the Susan River outside Maryborough. It also flows into the estuary and dolphins are not unusual in that river. This is not just something that is happening outside our region. It has imminent concern for those of us in Noosa who worry about the possible degradation of the  environment in our region. Because drilling has been carried out at Wolvi. And that’s in our neighbourhood. Indeed the coalfield that is being explored along the Mary River extends from Bundaberg down to Point Arkwright and from the Blackall range out to sea.

These are resources that the coal and gas industries want so much to get their hands on that they don’t care if they encroach on farms or suburbs, as the industry has done in America. And as it is doing on Queensland farms and in Sydney suburbs. Now.

So a Labor Government which gives free reign to miners and drillers, and an LNP which thought protection of the Mary Valley was important at the last election, will allow the ultimate degradation of our environment sustaining some of the most intensive greenhouse gas production industries. The scientific and anecdotal evidence is incontrovertable for responsible legislation. The least that should be done right now is a moratorium on CSG and the immediate cessation of coalmine expansion. No more coal mines! I will take this up in the Parliament as it is Greens policy.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Greens call for return of Noosa’s water supply assets

Posted by Jim McDonald on February 7, 2012

The Greens candidate for Noosa, Jim McDonald, called for the State Government to restore Unity Water assets to the Councils that developed them.

Dr McDonald said, “Ratepayers funds helped develop Noosa’s water supply and so it belongs to the community. It should never have been grabbed by the Bligh Government to be corporatised in preparation for selling off another public asset. Lake Macdonald was a Noosa Council project.

“Unity Water has done nothing but slug consumers and adopted practices that look more like a mafia operation: exhorbitant metre reading guesses and residents slugged for costs even if they are not connected to the grid are, frankly, unethical standover tactics.

“Separating Unity Water from the Council is also dysfunctional. Subsided trenches crossing Noosa’s streets remain unrepaired despite the Sunshine Coast Regional Council having just completed asphalt road repairs throughout Noosa.

“In one case, a subsided trench on Hill Street in Sunshine Beach lies unrepaired not 10 metres away from the recent round of resurfacing. The Council claims maintenance of the trenches is Unity Water’s responsibility.

“We can blame Labor for that nonsense. But what does the LNP propose? Their so-called “CanDo” policy States that Glen Elmes’ party will combine Unity Water into an even larger body, claiming it would be more efficient. What that will do is make it easier to sell it off to private enterprise and the LNP should come clean about their plans.

“Not being known for its consistency, the party that tries to tell us that the amalgamated Sunshine Coast Regional Council isn’t efficient for Noosa ratepayers argues for State centralisation of water assets developed by the Noosa Shire!

“In no case in Australia has the sale of publicly owned utilites resulted in cheaper prices for consumers whether they have been sold by Labor or Liberal/Nationals.

“Voters are entitled to straight answers from the LNP for their ultimate plans for Unity Water and other publicly-owned assets. Mr Elmes should come clean and state unambiguously that the LNP will return Noosa’s water assets to a reconstituted Noosa Council.

“The Greens are committed to retaining essential public services in public ownership to be run in the public interest.

“I will work in the Parliament for residents to get back Noosa Council control over the assets their rates paid for.”

Jim McDonald
Greens Candidate, Noosa
Media Release, 6 February 2012 

Sunshine Coast Council must oppose coal and gas exploration on the Sunshine Coast

Posted by Jim McDonald on February 3, 2012

The Greens candidate for the Sunshine Coast, Dr Jim McDonald, has challenged the Sunshine Coast Regional Council to oppose any coal and gas exploration on the Sunshine Coast.

He said that a statement of principle by the Council opposing coal mining or coal seam gas [CSG] extraction in the region would demonstrate its true concern for the environment.

“Not many people know that the Maryborough Basin, which is presently being prepared for coal mining and CSG in the Mary Valley, extends down to Point Arkwright. I’d be very concerned that open land in Verrierdale, for example, might be exploited for coal or gas.

“People south of Coolum might not know that there is another coal basin, the Nambour Basin, that covers the rest of the Sunshine Coast. These basins with coal reserves extend from the Blackall Range out to sea.

“It is essential for the future integrity of the Sunshine Coast environment and its attraction as a desirable region for people to live in and raise their families that the open land never be degraded by these industries.

“It is generally thought that the coal mining and CSG issues facing farmers and communities in the Darling Downs and NSW have nothing to do with the Sunshine Coast. But exploration has already extended as far south as Wolvi.

“It is no accident that mining magnate, Mr Clive Palmer, is eyeing off the Sunshine Coast.”

Dr McDonald said that he has repeatedly asked LNP MPs to oppose coal mining and CSG in the Mary Valley. He said their silence spoke loudly of their support for the mining industry in our neighbourhood.

He accused the LNP of hypocrisy. “The LNP yelled loud and long against the Traveston Dam and they joined with Mary River activists and The Greens in opposing the dam. Yet when coal companies are exploring the length of the Mary River for coal and CSG, their concern for the environment disappears.

“Every major tributary of the Mary River is being explored, and their concern over Traveston for the health of the Mary River and its unique species has disappeared.

“The Sunshine Coast Regional Council must stand firm against these activities extending into the Sunshine Coast and I urge Mayor Bob Abbott to send a clear message to Labor and the LNP that the Council will lead the community in opposition to mining the Coast.

“The Noosa Greens have actively opposed coal mining along the Mary River and its tributaries. We are concerned for the health of the river, the Mary River Cod, the lungfish and the Mary River Turtle. Coal mining and CSG will threaten the world heritage sea grasslands at the mouth of the river if coal mining is approved.”

Jim McDonald
Greens Candidate, Noosa


Media Release: Greens ready for March election

Posted by Jim McDonald on January 25, 2012

The Greens candidate for Noosa, Dr Jim McDonald welcomed the announcement for an election date by Premier Anna Bligh, this morning.

Dr McDonald said that the LNP and Labor leaders had descended to a schoolyard level of debate on the election date.

I have no doubt that the decision will be controversial concerning the decision to push back the Council elections, but people have been confused between coverage of State and local government elections.

The Greens policy supports fixed terms and the adoption of that principle will take away the demeaning argy bargy that we have seen this week between Campbell Newman and Anna Bligh.

However, the biggest problem we face in Queensland is that no party once in government seriously commits to any long term action planning.

People often say to me that The Greens can never win government so it is a wasted vote. But voting for The Greens is a vote for the future. We must leave behind the dysfunctional ratbaggery that has characterised the Queensland Parliament and deal with long term issues beyond the three-year electoral cycle instead of short-term, populist programs.

If I am elected to the Parliament for Noosa I can focus my contribution in representing Noosa on the solutions requiring long-term strategy and action, such as a commitment to the infrastructure planning and programs necessary to prepare for the effects of climate change in the region and economic prosperity for Noosa in the post-carbon economy.

This is not something you ever hear from Mr Elmes or the Young Labor candidate from Brisbane.

Because I am not constrained by the vested interests that support Labor and the LNP, my focus will be on the benefits for the whole of the electorate and the region rather than select groups and the coal and gas industries.”

Dr McDonald said, “The Noosa and Hinterland Greens Branch are organised and ready for the long campaign.”


Jim McDonald campaigning for the Greens

Jim McDonald
Greens Candidate Noosa
Media Release, 25 January 2012

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