15th December 2021
This week, our local tourism and hospitality businesses have had reason to smile again with the easing of border restrictions. While there’s still a lot of concern around how new public health measures will be enforced from next week, there’s also been an overwhelming sense of relief, as the tourists and visitors return.
After months and months of uncertainty, I am hopeful the state government makes good on its commitment to keep borders open, and avoids any further lockdowns. The majority of people I’ve heard from agree that we need to learn to live with this virus. It’s time to get back to business as usual, and vaccinations are the key!
As we count down the days to Christmas, if you are still on the hunt for the perfect present, look no further than a Sunny Coast Cash Gift card.
For every $100 card (redeemable at a large number of local businesses), $180 in benefits is returned to our local economy. Christmas doesn’t get any better than that. For all the details, including the chance to win a $1,000 Sunny Coast Cash Gift Certificate, head to the Coolum Business and Tourism Facebook page.
And don’t forget the line of up Flicks in the Park, proudly hosted by our local Chamber, throughout the festive season.
It was a busy conclusion to the end of the Parliamentary year, with landmark legislation being passed in the final sitting week. ‘Sian’s Law’ is the legacy of a community-led campaign supported by more than 72,000 people who showed their support and signed the petition. For more information about this important legislation, and what it means for the worst of the worst offenders, head to my Facebook page.
As this is my final column for the year, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year. Thank you for all your support throughout the year, I look forward to continuing to work together and representing you in State Parliament in 2022.
17th November 2021
Our local business community really shined at last week’s 2021 Sunshine Coast Business Awards. From clean technology to food and retail, we are blessed by the creativity, innovation and professionalism of the growing list of businesses who call Coolum home. Congratulations to Aussie Tiny Homes, Good Harvest Organic Farm and Pleasant State who were recognised for their outstanding achievements over the past year, not to mention the many other local businesses who were named as finalists, including:
- EnviroCom Australia
- FIREUP Coaching
- Huds and Toke Pty Ltd
- Kultured Wellness Pty Ltd
- The Ohana Group
- Nourishing Wholefoods
- Zone RV
- Hulk Media
- King IT
- Admins the Answer
Our small and family-run businesses really are the backbone of our local economy, and by supporting them, we are not only supporting local jobs, we are also ensuring they have the confidence and capacity to weather the storm during times of uncertainty, as we’ve all witnessed over the past 18 months. I look forward to the State Government providing more clarity for our hard-working business operators in coming days as restrictions start to ease and borders open in the lead up to Christmas. There has never been a more critical time as we emerge from the health pandemic, and learn to live with COVID.
Major resealing works that were due to be carried out earlier this year on Yandina Coolum Road have been rescheduled and should now be underway, on a 5km section from the Bruce Highway to Valdora Road. These works are expected to take up to six weeks, so please be aware of the changed conditions, including reduced speed limits, when travelling in this area.
Similarly, resurfacing works on Emu Mountain Road, at Peregian Springs and Weyba Downs have been delayed, and are now expected to get underway this month. Works will take place on a 7km section between Peregian Springs Drive (south) to Murdering Creek Road roundabouts, and from Murdering Creek Road to Eumarella Road roundabouts.
If you have any queries about these works, don’t hesitate to give me a call, and thank you for your patience while these important works to improve the condition and safety of our roads are underway.
20th October 2021
State Government releases COVID roadmap
For months now, my LNP colleagues and I have been calling on the State Government to provide a roadmap out of COVID lockdowns and restrictions. Queenslanders want to choose hope over fever. They want answers, clarity, accountability, common sense and compassion.
There’s little doubt they’ve become more sick of politics than they have from COVID, so although it was long overdue, I welcomed the announcement earlier this week on the vaccination targets we need to meet in order to open our borders and regain some of our lost freedoms.
I applaud our local chamber, Coolum Business and Tourism, who has been doing the heavy lifting, launching local activation programs to help keep businesses afloat. Without their support, many businesses would not have survived, and as we all do our part in reaching the vaccination targets in the lead up to Christmas, please continue to show your support by shopping locally, and helping a local business keep their doors open.
Barrie John Watts parole denied
Welcome news for the Kingi family, who last week finally received the news that the parole application of convicted child killer Barrie Watts was denied. To those who are not familiar with this story, Watts was convicted of the heinous torture, rape and murder of 12 year old Sian Kingi in 1987. Earlier this year, the family and I tabled a petition in Parliament calling on the Queensland Parole Board to reject his parole application. It’s been an agonising wait for the family, and I’ve made a commitment to them to ensure the government passes tough new laws to ensure that Watts and monsters like him never see the light of day again.
Other than COVID, one of the most pressing social issues that I am regularly contacted about is the housing crisis our region is currently experiencing, and last week, I spoke about it in Parliament. Here on the Sunshine Coast, we have 3000 properties on the social housing register, with recent statistics indicating around 1,800 families on the waitlist.
To make matters worse, the Sunshine Coast is one of the most expensive property markets, with a median house price of $825,000. With the Government committing to just 140 new dwellings, it is clear that much more needs to be done to break the cycle of homelessness and housing stress.
One local business that is making a difference is Aussie Tiny Homes, located in the Coolum Industrial Park. I recently met with them to learn more about the innovative work they are doing with Noosa Shire Council, helping to meet the demand for housing for younger people. They have projected that next year alone, they will build over 200 tiny mobile homes that could be used for emergency accommodation or granny flats. While this will make only a small dent in an ever-growing problem, I applaud Fabio, Thiago and the team for all their hard work and innovation.
16th September 2021
Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation
I am writing my contribution this week from Parliament, where I, along with all my fellow elected representatives, are considering one of the most important yet divisive pieces of legislation to have come before the House.
I’ve long said the issue of voluntary assisted dying is beyond politics, and while it was unfortunate to see it become used as a political weapon during last year’s state election campaign, it is an important issue that now must be addressed.
Over the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time consulting with stakeholders from both sides of the debate, as well as with my own community. I’ve heard heartbreaking stories of loss, pain and grief and trauma, and these have had a huge impact on me.
Despite this, I’ve done my best to keep an open mind, and while the majority of the feedback I’ve received from the electorate has been supportive of voluntary assisted dying, what struck me the most has been the strong response to the need to better fund palliative care. While the concept of VAD was broadly supported, 100% of respondents supported improvements in palliative care.
I am of the firm belief that one of our primary responsibilities as lawmakers is to protect our most vulnerable. The huge gap that still remains in palliative care funding needs to be resolved before we can make legislative changes that will impact on end of life decisions.
Ultimately, I believe all Queenslanders deserve the choice. It should not only be a choice about when to die, it should also be a choice to live, in relative pain-free comfort.
You can listen or read my full speech on my Facebook page later this week.
18th August 2021
Road infrastructure upgrades
Following years of fighting to bust congestion in Coolum, I’m pleased to see money finally start flowing on long overdue road infrastructure upgrades in Coolum.
Thank you to the local community who’ve been vocal in their support for our campaign, which has helped secure $1.75million to commence planning for the duplication of the Motorway, as well as upgrades to the School Road intersection and Yandina Coolum roundabout.
This funding is long overdue, and I look forward to working with key stakeholders to ensure the upgrades can be completed as soon as practical.
There’s no doubt our local road network is struggling to cope with the increased population, and securing this funding is a critical first step towards future-proofing the Sunshine Motorway, and an important acknowledgement that the State Government can’t continue to ignore the needs of our region.
In other road news, earlier this year we were advised of resurfacing works on a section of the Yandina Coolum Road, again after a community-driven campaign to highlight the dangerous conditions. Earlier this week, TMR has advised that the work has not yet been done, and it has been rescheduled for later in the year, with line marking on that section to follow. Once TMR has confirmed a new start date, I will share this information with the community.
Voluntary Assisted Dying
Unfortunately, due to border lockdowns and COVID restrictions, the VAD forum I had planned to host earlier this month was cancelled. My apologies to those residents who had expressed an interest in attending. There’s still time to have your say – my survey runs until the end of the month. Hard copies are available at my office, or you can complete it online, by visiting http://www.danpurdie.com.au
Single Use Plastics Ban
An important reminder for all our community groups about the upcoming ban on single-use plastics, which comes into effect from September 1. The ban includes single-use plastic straws, stirrers, plates and bowls, cutlery and polystyrene takeaway containers. An information forum will be held on Monday, September 6 for those groups who would like more information. To register, go to www.eventbrite.com.au.
Upcoming grant opportunities
COVID-10 Business Support Grants – now open, visit www.business.qld.gov.au/supportgrant
Gambling Community Benefit Fund – next round closes on August 31
Fair Play Vouchers – applications close September 29
Queensland Day 2022 grants – applications close August 31
Celebrating Multicultural Queensland grants – close September 12
15th July 2021
Thank you to everyone who has completed my survey on Voluntary Assisted Dying. I’ve been impressed by the great response, with hundreds of surveys returned, and encourage those who haven’t yet completed it, to have their say.
If you would like to know more about the proposed legislation, I am hosting a forum next month, on Wednesday, August 4 at the Coolum Peregian RSL from 5.30pm. There will be speakers presenting both sides of the debate, as well as a legal professional who will be able to answer questions about the legislation. Due to COVID, numbers are strictly limited, so if you would like to attend, please register by contacting my office.
New tobacco outlet a cause for concern
In the past few weeks I’ve been receiving lots of complaints about the new tobacco shop across from Coolum State School. Unfortunately, while there are restrictions on the sale, advertising, display and promotion of tobacco products, there are no restrictions on where a tobacconist can be located.
In 2015 smoking was banned at all schools, and five metres beyond their boundaries. Given that strict laws to control tobacco marketing are central to efforts to reduce smoking, it’s concerning to think how these laws don’t also apply to the location of retailers, particularly in such close proximity to children. I have written to the Health Minister seeking urgent advice on what we, as a community, can do to address this, to help better protect the younger generation.
Vegetation clearing works are due to get underway this weekend along the Sunshine Motorway, between the Pacific Paradise bypass bridge and Yandina Coolum Road. The works will be done at night, between 7pm-6am (conditions permitting) for a period of approximately two weeks, and motorists should expect delays with single-lane closures and reduced speed limits. The works will help improve visibility along the road corridor, so thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.
17th June 2021
Sign for Sian
Thank you to everyone who has signed the petition calling on the Queensland Parole Board to ensure that for the worst of the worst offenders, like convicted killer Barrie John Watts, life means life. This week I tabled the petition in Parliament, which has received overwhelming support from individuals right across the State.
If you would like to keep up to date with our campaign, including the outcome of Barrie Watts’ parole application, please sign up for regular updates via my website, or contact my office.
This week, the State Government handed down its second Budget, but unfortunately for the majority of locals, there was little to get excited about. There are some local highlights worth celebrating, with Coolum High set to benefit from a $11.2million investment this financial year for a range of infrastructure projects including building extensions and classrooms, as well as $4.5m for a new administration building for North Arm State School, and $450,000 for Bli Bli State School. These are great outcomes, although I am disappointed there was no new money for a performance hall for Coolum High, or to fast track the long overdue air-conditioning at Coolum State School.
Other welcome investment includes just over $1million for pedestrian access at the intersection of Scrub Road and David Low Way, and an additional $450,000 for the Motorway duplication planning process. The State is also chipping in more than $1million to seal a section of Zgrajewksi Road. These are all important projects I have been lobbying for, so it’s great to see the funding allocated, although there’s still much more needed.
At a time when more and more people are choosing to call the Sunshine Coast home, we need to see more money being invested into our road network. We need to fast-track major infrastructure projects like the upgrade to the Coolum roundabout, and upgrades to major arterial roads like the Yandina Coolum Road and Bli Bli Road, which are no longer fit for purpose.
While I welcome a funding commitment of $1.9billion over four years for social housing, and a new $1billion Housing Investment Fund, there is so much more that needs to be done, which this Budget simply doesn’t deliver.
Voluntary Assisted Dying – survey now available
For those residents keen to have their say on the Government’s proposed Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation, you can now access the survey on my website. A hard copy will be available in your letterbox from next week.
20th May 2021
Thanking our Volunteers
As National Volunteer Week wraps up, I want to again pay tribute to all the hard working volunteers who give up their time to serve the local community. From service groups to social support, sports and recreational clubs, schools, aged care and the environment, volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. This week, I’ve made a point of showcasing some of the many different roles our valued volunteers take on. Check out my most recent posts on Facebook, and like and share to say thanks.
Sponsorship secured for Raffa, the Story Dog
Earlier this month I was invited along to Coolum State School to read with some of the prep students. During the visit, I learnt that one of the Story Dogs, Raffa, needed a sponsor, so I gladly took the opportunity to support this fantastic learning support program.
Story Dogs is a great way to help engage younger students with reading. Raffa is the second Story Dog I proudly sponsor, the other dog, Molly, is based at Kuluin State School.
Member for a Day
Earlier this week, I was joined by the Youth Member for Ninderry, Micah Carswell, who shadowed me for a day. Micah helped me host a special morning tea with the Coolum Lionesses, and also came along to one of my regular meetings with Division 10 Councillor, David Law. We also dropped in to deliver a new Queensland flag to the Coolum Bowls Club, and toured the Nambour Meals on Wheels facility. Thanks for keeping me company Micah, I hope you enjoyed the experience.
Hundreds of A’Vanners descend on Coolum
Many of you may have noticed an extra buzz in our local shops in and around Coolum this week, with nearly 300 visitors arriving as part of the 22nd AGM of the A’Van Club of Australia. Club members, who have set up at the Coolum Beach Holiday Park and Mudjimba Caravan Park, are expected to spend around $500,000 during their stay in our region. I had the pleasure of attending their official function earlier this week, and was happy to spruik some of the many tourist offerings available locally.
25th April 2021
I was delighted to announce some important resealing works for a notorious section of Yandina Coolum Road last week. Work is expected to start next month on resurfacing a five kilometre section of the road from just the other side of the Bruce Highway through to Valdora Road. For months I have been lobbying TMR for upgrades to this dangerous road, which locals have told me is an accident waiting to happen. I recently took a ride with a local truck driver to film just how bad the conditions are, which you can check out for yourself on my Face book page. These resealing works won’t fix all the problems, but it’s a good start to our ongoing campaign to upgrade the road.
Work will also start soon on the installation of a CCTV camera at the intersection of David Low Way and Beach Road. According to TMR, the footage from the camera will be used to help monitor the traffic lights at the intersection, allowing the traffic management centre (TMC) operators to adjust signals when necessary. Given the massive increase in local traffic, any investment in new technology to help address the congestion is welcome.
It’s been great to see so much grant money being shared by local clubs and groups lately!
Congratulations to the latest recipients of Gambling grants, including Coolum Colts ($35,000 for field lighting), Coolum Croquet Club ($15,100 for a new shed), and Coolum Peregian RSL Sub Branch ($35,000 for a van with disabled access). This follows the generous grants recently awarded by Coolum Surf Lifesaving Supporters Club, which distributed $42,000 to some of most deserving community groups, including Coolum Hearts, Coolum Quota, Coolum Beach Meals on Wheels, Coolum and North Shore Coast Care, St Vincent de Paul Coolum Beach, and Salvation Army.
Coolum Tennis has also benefitted from a much needed injection of funds, with the official opening of the new courts recently. It was a vast improvement from when I visited last year to announce the $350,000 Works for Queensland funding, which was used to not only replace the four courts, but also upgrade the lighting and fencing. Sunshine Coast Council also contributed $70,000 for the refurbishment, which I know will be well received by our ever-growing local tennis community.
18th March 2021
Update from Parliament
Last week in Parliament I asked the Minister for Education for an update on the roll-out of air-conditioning for Coolum State School. Nearly two years ago, the P&C fundraised around $400,000 to upgrade the school’s electrical system in preparation for air-conditioning, however they are still waiting. It’s just not acceptable to think that students, teachers and staff will have to swelter through yet another hot summer, especially when the community have stepped up to help cover the costs.
I am back down in Parliament again next week, where the focus will again be on our local schools. In recent years Coolum State High has undergone significant growth and has developed an outstanding reputation for its quality learning and educational program. While there has been substantial investment in new buildings, one key facility that has been overlooked is a purpose-built performance hall that will also service the needs of the community. As our region continues to grow, it’s imperative we plan for the future now, and invest in educational resources to give our kids the best opportunity to reach their full potential, so I will be asking the Education Minister to allocate funding for this project.
Spotlight on Coolum
On Saturday, Coolum will play host to close to one hundred bodysurfers from across the country as part of the inaugural Coolum Wedge bodysurfing competition. This all ages and all abilities event will see competitors, aged from 10 to 80 across five categories take on the waves. Not only will this be a fantastic event to watch, it will also be a welcome boost to local businesses who will benefit from the influx of visitors keen to enjoy their stay. I look forward to this event becoming a regular on our annual calendar.
Don’t forget you can now access a JP service at my office on the first and third Wednesday of every month, from 1pm-4pm. The next session is coming up on Wednesday April 7. Call on 54067900 or email email@example.com to book.
18th February 2021
Youth Justice laws on the agenda
It’s back to Parliament next week for the first sitting week of the year. It will be a busy one, with the Government’s long overdue youth justice reforms due to be tabled. I have been very vocal about the need to give our police stronger laws and more resources, and while the changes are welcome, I don’t think they go far enough. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, and if I get the chance, I intend on sharing the community’s feedback in Parliament.
I will also be asking the Transport and Main Roads Minister for an update on the survey and design work currently underway on the roundabout at the intersection of Yandina Coolum Road and School Road, in Coolum.
Following years of lobbying, we’ve been able to secure initial funding of $100,000 to start work on this important infrastructure upgrade, and I am keen to find out how this money has been spent.
Last week, I went along to a SafeST committee meeting at the Coolum State School where the issue of the roundabout was canvassed, along with other options to reduce the impact of congestion during peak times. I’ll keep you posted as these discussions continue.
JP Service coming soon!
I’m pleased to announce that a free Justice of the Peace service will be available in my office from 1-4pm on the first and third Wednesday of every month, starting Wednesday March 3. Two wonderful local JPs, Sharon and Laraine, have volunteered their time to be able to help with all JP-related inquiries. Bookings are required, so just give my office a call on 5406 7900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to take advantage of this service.
Grants bonanza for Ninderry
Congratulations to all the local clubs who secured funding in the last round of gambling grants. More than $300,000 was shared between 10 clubs and groups, including Coolum Beach Bowls Club, Coolum Cricket Club, Coolum Men’s Shed and Coolum State High P&C Association. If you missed out, make sure you apply for the next round, which closes on February 28.
28th January 2021
Happy New Year! It’s been a whirlwind of a start to 2021, and with the new school year now underway, its full steam ahead for everyone, and with teachers and students returning to the classroom, don’t forget to slow down in school zones. Police will be actively enforcing these reduced speed zones, so make sure you slow down in these areas.
One of my top priorities for 2021 is holding the Labor Government to account when it comes to investing in our state road network. During the election, Labor announced they would duplicate the Sunshine Motorway, and begin work on the upgrades to the roundabout near Coolum State School.
Locals would know I have been lobbying the Government for urgent safety upgrades to this roundabout, as well as busting the congestion, so I look forward to seeing some progress this year.
It was great to see so many locals taking time out with their families and friends to celebrate Australia Day. While it was a shame our local Lions awards ceremony wasn’t able to go ahead, it was great to join the crowd for the fifth annual charity cricket match between the Coolum Beach Hotel and the Bowlo. Congratulations to <insert winner>, who took out this year’s trophy.
Fair Play vouchers
If you are a parent or carer of a young person aged 5-17 and have a valid health care card or pensioner concession card, you may be eligible for the next round of FairPlay vouchers, which aim to help keep our kids active and healthy by assisting with the cost of club registration fees. For more information or to apply, visit www.qld.gov.au/fairplayvouchers. Applications close March 17.
I am always keen to hear about your local concerns, so please keep in touch if you come across an issue or need help with a specific state government matter.