NOT HAPPY: Noosa Mayor Noel Playford says a challenge is not out of the question.
NOT HAPPY: Noosa Mayor Noel Playford says a challenge is not out of the question.

Noosa to give up $19m in ugly council divorce

NOOSA Council will get $1.6 million of the $22.8 million it had claimed from the Sunshine Coast Council as part of a de-amalgamation settlement.

Local Government Minister David Crisafulli announced yesterday that two of the five claims Noosa made were beyond doubt.

Mr Crisafulli said a review had been unable to reach a decision on the other three matters, meaning the remaining $18.9 million in dispute will remain with the Sunshine Coast Council.

Although a consultant had recommended the matters continue to be tested, Mr Crisafulli was unwilling to let the matter drag on.

He said he had promised a decision by the end of the year and was sticking to it.

The remaining figures in dispute were calculated in accordance with Queensland Treasury Corporation methodology.

"It was fair. It was what was agreed to at the start," Mr Crisafulli said.

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He said it was clear that Noosa was owed $400,000 from the repeal of the carbon tax because it owned the tip at Cooroy, and a $1.2 million dividend from Unitywater had been payable for the financial year prior to amalgamation with Maroochy and Caloundra councils.

However, decisions could not be reached on Noosa's claims for $11.4 million of a water and sewerage cash reserve, $6.8 million of a developer contribution cash reserve, and $700,000 in "unearned revenue".

Mr Crisafulli said both councils could take some responsibility for the lack of a result on three matters.

"Part of it is because both councils were not forthcoming with information," he said.

Mr Crisafulli did not expect his decision to be popular with Noosa Mayor Noel Playford.

"I imagine in the community of Noosa, he would have liked to have tested it further," he said.

Mr Crisafulli said the decision was final but Cr Playford said that a challenge was not out of the question.

"I haven't read the report, but it's obviously something we'll be looking at,'' he said.

"To make a decision that money that has been legally contributed for specific purposes that we couldn't legally spend in any other way, to have that money summarily given to another council to be spent elsewhere, is a disgrace.

"The community will judge itself whether they think that's a reasonable thing to do."

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said Mr Crisafulli's announcement was "a good decision" that vindicated his council's stance on what he described as an "ambit claim" by Noosa.

"We were dragged into it by the fact that we had to protect our ratepayers," Cr Jamieson said.

He denied that Sunshine Coast Council had hindered the process by not being forthcoming with information.

He said council staff had spent hours supplying detailed information in duplicate and triplicate to the review.

Mr Crisafulli said both councils now needed to get on with the job of working for their ratepayers.

He said the settlement should not have an effect on rates for ratepayers of either council.


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