Community jury assists council

Noosa Shire Council will pursue a community jury recommendation to take over some of the state government‘s Noosa River management responsibilities.

Eighteen of 24 community jury members recommended Council seek control of mooring, anchoring, live-aboards and commercial leases – currently several state agencies’ domain.
Jury members felt the state wasn’t doing a good job and local control could work better.

Mayor Noel Playford said Council welcomed the advice and would raise it with the state.

“Noosa River is under growing pressure so we need better management to protect its health, environmental and recreational value for the future.

“Council and the state government have been looking for ways to work together to tackle various issues relating to the river and they’ve told us they’re open to us taking over some of their management tasks.

“It’s encouraging that so many community jury members looked at the current arrangements, saw they weren’t delivering the best outcome and felt local management could help.

“Government officials admit they haven’t the budget to manage the river effectively so we are likely to see a better result if we take on some of the responsibility.”

Council tasked the 24-member community jury with deliberating how the river could be better managed and the role Council might play. It follows growing concerns about abandoned and derelict vessels, effluent pollution from boats, commercial leases and other issues.

Council voted to use 12 further recommendations, which the jury reached consensus on, in drafting a detailed management strategy for the river.

The recommendations include use of a river ranger, use of legal channels to rid the river of abandoned, derelict and unsafe vessels and a review of mooring fees.

The community jury called upon experts and stakeholders, reviewed community submissions and heard from Council staff on current difficulties.

Councillor Playford said that it was now up to Council to continue the conversation with the state as to how some of the work was taken over.

Council also voted to maintain the community jury as a tool for major decision-making.

“We’ve learnt much from trialling the community jury process and feedback from jury members has been overwhelmingly positive, so we will keep it on hand as a tool Council can call on in future.”