YOUR LETTERS: Bring back the pink dollar for Noosa
NOOSA residents take pride in being an easy-going, tolerant, welcoming community.
We have to be!
Noosa depends on tourist dollars and it's up to us to make visitors feel welcome.
The laid-back Noosa 'vibe' is what makes Noosa a great place for residents and visitors.
This welcoming 'vibe' is not reflected in the Noosa Shire Council's refusal to officially endorse marriage equality. The Council's intransigence on this issue is rapidly ruining our reputation in one of our key target markets - the LGBTIQ community.
- NOOSA WILL LOSE PINK DOLLAR UNLESS IT "COMES OUT"
- NO MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND WE'RE MISSING OUT ON $742M DOLLARS
Meanwhile, councils which have moved to endorse marriage equality are capitalising on the positive publicity and extra tourist dollars Noosa seems determined to reject.
The gay community and their many thousands of straight supporters are beginning to feel Noosa Council is cultivating an unwelcoming environment for LGBTI residents and visitors to the region.
Yet, it seems the official council position on this issue does not reflect that of residents, local businesses or the majority of our elected representatives.
In tune with nearly 40 other councils throughout Australia, a straw poll suggests every one of our Noosa councillors would happily endorse marriage equality - apart from Mayor Noel Playford.
Mayor Playford may recall a decisive moment in the 2009 Sunshine Coast Council election when mayoral candidate, Joe Natoli, suggested that, under Bob Abbot, Noosa would become the "gay capital of Australia".
Through clenched teeth, Bob Abbot replied, "Well, let me answer the question, Joe. I am not the champion of the gay capital of Australia. Noosa is not the gay capital of Australia.
Do you believe the Coast is catering for the gay community?
This poll ended on 30 July 2015.
No, we aren't doing enough with events, occasions and club nights
Yes, the Coast is very accepting
Why do we need to cater specifically to one crowd?
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Noosa gets many, many gay visitors after the Mardi Gras and they are welcome like every other Australian. I am not a bigot. I am not closed of mind.
These people provide good value to the business community of the Sunshine Coast and indeed to Noosa. I absolutely refute these accusations."
Bob Abbot was widely applauded for his comments and, following the overwhelmingly negative response to that interview, Natoli's popularity plummeted.
Abbot went on to win the election. Support for the LGBTIQ community and marriage equality has strengthened since then. But Noosa no longer enjoys the benefits of the 'pink dollar' as it did under Abbot's leadership. Byron Bay (which has endorsed marriage equality) and other destinations are now the key destination for the post Mardi Gras recovery week.
Endorsing marriage equality is core business for Noosa Council.
We no longer attract the lucrative LGBTIQ tourist market.
The Noosa Shire Council's failure to take a positive stand on this issue is socially and economically harmful.
It is time for our councillors to take a stand and insist that Noosa Shire Council reflects the views of the community, the interests of business owners and the majority of its elected representatives by formally endorsing marriage equality.