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Division 8 councillor Debbie Blumel.
Division 8 councillor Debbie Blumel.

At this week’s council budget meeting I advocated strongly for a new policy that would have ensured that full-pensioners in Divisions 8 and 9 (former Maroochy Shire) would be treated equally with full-pensioners in the former Noosa Shire.

This would have been a significant increase because full-pensioners in Noosa Shire received a rebate to 30% of rates and charges to a maximum of $320 for singles and $270 for a couple, while Maroochy full-pensioners received $230 for couple and single pensioners.

Under my proposal, no pensioner would have been worse off and all part-pensioners would have been rebated, instead of just those in the former Maroochy and Caloundra shires.

The debate was long and at times aggressive towards me. In the end, the vote was lost 4 to 9, but I greatly appreciate councillors Chris Thompson, Paul Tatton and Christian Dickson for supporting me. These men have compassionate hearts and I respect them enormously.

The consolation prize is that council is now going to form a committee to consider it again before next year’s budget. Another committee! It’s like wading though treacle!

Several councillors told me after the meeting that my proposal was exactly what they hope to support in a year’s time. I guess that I should be encouraged by that small glimmer of hope.

I’d like to say to the local people who are subsisting on pensions because they are too old or disabled to work, that I know that you are doing it tough. I know that petrol price spikes are driving up grocery prices and the cost of services that you use. I did my very best for you this week in terms of researching and preparing my presentation and arguments but the support just wasn’t there among the other councillors.

ROADS

On a more positive note, I offer bouquets to the Main Roads Minister Warren Pitt this week for announcing the awarding of a $6 million contract to RoadTek to upgrade the Menzies Drive-Mudjimba Beach Road intersection on David Low Way. Minister Pitt said that work will start in early July to upgrade this busy intersection.

This project will improve traffic flow and safety for the 15,000 motorists who use this intersection each day as well as meet future traffic demand in this area.

Bouquets to Council too for recently commencing construction of the new $6.5 million airport access road. This project will also be finished around Christmas 2008. You will have to drive along the airport access road to reach Pete’s Print Shop, Marcoola Mechanical, Invigorate Health Club and your other favourite businesses in Runway Drive, but it will be easier and safer to get in and out with the new intersection.

And in yet another example of cooperation across the two levels of government, Minister Pitt has also announced a contract for RoadTek to build the new signalised intersection linking the Pacific Paradise bypass to David Low Way.

It’s wonderful to see so much road construction happening in Division 8. On a daily basis, I am seeing the area transformed through massive roadwork and bridge building projects. Within about six months, we will have broken the gridlock on the Maroochy North Shore and our village communities will be much more livable.

Minister Pitt will be visiting Council Chambers to meet with the newly elected councillors this Thursday afternoon, providing an opportunity for councillors to be updated on all major road projects in our region. I plan to tell him that you are very happy to see these important road projects happening here at last.


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