Posted by Jim McDonald on March 30, 2012
The NBN rollout plans from 2012 to 2015, announced by the Federal Government, have bypassed Noosa, The Greens spokesperson for Noosa, Jim McDonald, claimed today.
He said that the plan includes Nambour, Maroochydore, Bli Bli and Coolum Beach, but excludes Noosa.
“The Federal Government and the NBN say that they cannot open up the network all at once, but the plan for the next 3 years cherry picks centres on the Sunshine Coast without considering the viability of other centres such as Noosa.
“This will have serious impacts on local businesses. They will be disadvantaged by any delays in gaining access to the high speeds promised for the nationial broadband network.
“Noosa is potentially a centre for IT and industries relying on a decent network that will suit a green industrial future. Many businesses are presently suffering from early 1990s dial-up speeds at times preventing the upload and download of essential information and data. Online services in Noosa presently work against business efficiency and disadvantage domestic users.
“I call upon the Member for Noosa, Glen Elmes, and the Member for Wide Bay, Warren Truss, in consultation with local business, to develop a submission to the Federal Minister for Communication and NBN Co. for Noosa to be brought forward in the NBN plans for industrial efficiency and better residential services.”
Media Release, Jim McDonald
Noosa & Hinterland Greens Spokesperson
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.”
Greens Candidate, Noosa
Media Release, 6 February 2012
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.”
Greens Candidate, Noosa
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
Greens Candidate Noosa
Media Release, 25 January 2012
Posted by Jim McDonald on January 24, 2012
Jim McDonald, the Greens Candidate for Noosa, writes to the Noosa News about de-amalgamation:
I’d like to thank Bob Ansett for pointing out what the LNP’s website says about Noosa’s de-amalgamation because what the LNP spokesperson for Local Government, Gympie MP, David Gibson, says and doesn’t say on that website is quite different from the LNP’s actual policy.
As The Greens candidate for Noosa, I have called for a referendum to establish the ratepayers’ wishes as the primary step in giving the Noosa community the local government it really wants. This is a community-focussed process of decision-making and the role of the Government will be then to facilitate – through community consultation – any changes resulting from the community’s response.
The LNP proposal is for “an advisory poll of voters in any proposed new Local Government boundary” after a Queensland Boundaries Commissioner has prepared their “preferred options” for any changes after he or she has considered submissions from the community.
These are important differences that need to be understood by all the groups involved. The LNP offers the Noosa community an “advisory” role in a poll. The policy does not indicate what kind of poll that might be. The Greens have called for a local referendum – let the community decide on deamalgamation not some appointed Commissioner fiddling with boundaries, “advised” by the community.
This “advisory poll” is something quite different from Mr Newman’s and Mr Gibson’s undertaking that “residents living within the proposed new council area will, by a simple majority, vote whether or not they wish to establish a new Noosa Shire Council”.
In designating a role for a Commissioner to make the decision on whether Noosa is to get the Council it wants, the LNP has developed a process that pushes the community to the side. LNP policy also will load the cost of a new Noosa Council on the residents: “ratepayers of any proposed new local authority would bear the full costs of any de-amalgamation.”
The Greens position is that if the community decides on separation the cost should be borne by the Government since it was the Queensland Government that forced amalgamation on us in the first place.
The Commissioner’s process of decision-making looks very like a “Yes Minister” scenario. I say that because the LNP policy includes the critical statement of principle: “The LNP has made it clear that its preference is for Queensland’s Councils to remain as currently constituted to avoid any further disruption and cost for local communities.” With that statement goes any confidence that accommodating the electorate’s interests is anything more than a sop to the community’s wishes.
As a Noosa resident who favours de-amalgamation, I’m rather disappointed that Friends of Noosa and the Alliance find the LNP position so attractive since any close examination of the LNP policy shows that Campbell Newman and David Gibson have made an offer that is designed to fail the wishes of the Noosa community, and the LNP cannot be trusted to carry out their wishes.
13 January 2012
Posted by Jim McDonald on March 23, 2011
Noosa Greens are on an election footing following the leadership coup in the LNP and Premier Bligh’s refusal to rule out an early election. The Greens candidate has already been pre-selected and approved by the Queensland Greens State Council. The Noosa and Hinterland Branch has a campaign team in place.
The Noosa Greens candidate is Dr Jim McDonald who stood for the Greens in Wide Bay during last year’s Federal election.
Jim McDonald, Noosa Greens candidate, addressing a Greens function during the Federal election campaign 2010
Dr McDonald said that the Greens have a good chance of knocking off Labor in Noosa whenever the State election is held.
“Labor continues to disappoint Queenslanders despite the Premier doing a good job during the flood crises and Cyclone Yasi. But no-one has forgotten that Labor sold off some of our most important assets and infrastructure for short term profit.
“The Labor Government has allowed mining and gas interests to run amok in the State at the expense of farmers and productive land. The Sunshine Coast and the Mary Valley face a real threat of coalmining and coal seam gas destroying the region’s environment.
“Labor is encouraging coalmining throughout the Mary Valley and drilling for coal and gas is occurring just outside the Noosa electorate borders at Wolvi. What hope has Noosa got in stopping environmental vandalism if this is the mindset of both Labor and the LNP?
“The Greens are the only Party to stand against the expansion of the coal and gas industry into our region. The LNP has been silent and ineffectual because they support, and are supported by, the mining industry. They have failed rural communities and farmers.”
He said that there were a number of other issues for the election whenever it is called. “The so-called health revolution will pass by our region when the age demographic in the Noosa electorate suggests that pressures will only increase on health services.
“Where is the evidence of planning for a rapid transport system in our region when fuel prices are frequently hitting $1.50 a litre and will certainly increase towards $2.00 a litre?
“I have been pushing for some time for a strategic approach to food production in the region. There is no evidence that the State has any strategy for dealing with food security as the climate changes. Nor is there any evidence of local or state-wide planning for the inevitable transformation into a global post-carbon economy.
“If I am elected as The Greens MP for Noosa, I will work to improve the contribution of the Queensland Government towards making the Noosa electorate a better place to live, to work, to visit, for recreation and the arts, and in which to invest sustainably.”
Jim McDonald is a widower and has lived in Sunshine Beach for 15 years. He was formerly an academic, a union official and high school teacher. His PhD is on management in small and medium sized businesses.
Media release, Tuesday, 22 March 2011