On the issue of planning and development, experience with the system is essential if you are to be effective.

As the council’s solicitor for many years (up to 2020) I had the good fortune to work with councils which understood the importance of their planning scheme and the importance of consistency in applying the scheme to the many development proposals which came their way.

As a result the council achieved the respect of the planning court judges and that was reflected in Court decisions which, almost invariably, supported the development priorities embedded in the schemes.

In my view, the experience and team approach of Councils (led by the Mayors and supported by staff) going back to the 80’s is a key reason for the superior development outcomes and environment Noosa enjoys today.

The alternative of ad hoc decisions leads to poor court outcomes thereby undermining the Council’s and community’s planning strategies and effectiveness. To avoid this, in my opinion, experience at the top of the organisation is essential. This is not business experience but government experience and anybody without that experience is simply going to waste their time and a lot of ratepayers money.

To be an effective Mayor one must have prior council experience and understand how the system works. It is just common sense. Frank Wilkie has years of experience dealing with planning and legal issues. He is a sensible balanced person to work with and takes a team approach. I struggle to see anyone in this field of candidates who remotely compares.

– In response to Noosa Matters opinion piece The Noosa We Know and Love Hangs in the Balance by Noel Playford.

Wakefield Sykes, Council solicitor to 2020

Wakefield Sykes