'Noosa's mafia stifles debate'

A LONG-TIME Noosa resident and businessman is tired of the de-amalgamation "mafia" stifling any balanced debate on the touchy subject.

Former head of the Noosa Chamber of Commerce Jeff Nuske says many are scared to say how they feel if they are against a yes vote as "they will be demonised".

He fears residents might be misinformed about the de-amalgamation facts. "I've been told (when writing letters to the newspaper) that I should leave Noosa and go south," he said. "All the letters I've written are based on fact, yet they come back with this vitriolic criticism."

John Lobb agreed and said it had become a "totally unfair" argument.

The former Sunrise Beach resident said he was opposed to amalgamation, he rallied against, but now it would cost too much and achieve little benefit by changing it.

Mr Nuske said people needed to read the Queensland Treasury Corporation's report on the real cost of de-amalgamation before voting.

"The QTC analysis has clearly and accurately identified Noosa ratepayers will pay $13 million for de-amalgamation with an increased council deficit," he said.

"The Noosa Independent Alliance will have ratepayers believe this isn't the case. This is deceiving as it can only be achieved by

increased rates or decreased services.

"Noosa residents can't afford the NIA experiment and it will achieve little or no benefit for Noosa's community.

"What are they trying to achieve? Nothing's changed (since amalgamation). We don't have any high-rise, we don't have any traffic lights, and we don't have parking meters.

"(Mayor) Mark Jamieson is being polite, he didn't take an active role until QTC came out. I don't think he has understood the Noosa mafia.

"Anything that happens in Noosa and these people don't agree with and they come out with their poster campaigns."

He criticised Member for Noosa Glen Elmes for his open support of the NIA.

Mr Elmes said he had made it clear he would be voting "yes" but people needed to read the QTC report.

He denied allowing the NIA to use his office to promote its "yes" campaign.

He also refused to say whether he agreed with the findings in the report that de-amalgamation would cost $13.6 million. He said anyone was welcome to mount a "no" campaign, but commended the NIA.

The Daily contacted NIA spokesman and former

Noosa Shire Council chairman Noel Playford.

He declined to comment. He would only say: "I'm not interested in being in a story with them at all."

Topics:  de-amalgamation

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