Case Study: Noosa Shire Council
We’re joined by Tony Wellington, Mayor, and Grant Hinner, Climate Change Adaptation Officer, from Noosa Shire Council. Tony and Grant talk passionately about Noosa’s response to climate change. They bring to life real examples of what their council is doing to adapt to climate challenges, what they’ve found to be the most consistently difficult aspects of adaptation and solutions that they’ve tested along the way
Tony Wellington’s vision is for Noosa Shire to become a symbol of best practice in governance and genuine sustainability. He wants people around Australia, and even around the world, to look towards Noosa Shire as a model example of how to treat the planet whilst enhancing both the local economy and resident wellbeing.
Noosa prides itself on being forward thinking. To that end, it has established a zero emissions target, under the amusing acronym of ZEN (Zero Emissions Noosa). Noosa Council is nearing completion on their Climate Change Adaptation Plan and also a Coastal Hazard Adaptation Plan. It has also pioneered a radical deal between the Queensland Government, HQ Plantations, a local environment group and Council that will see 2,400 hectares of former forestry land rehabilitated to become a massive wildlife corridor gazetted as national park.
Tony’s professional background has been as a film-maker, author, lecturer, artist and photographer. Hardly the usual route to becoming a mayor!
He found himself caught up in politics thanks to the 2008 forced amalgamation of Noosa with neighbouring Maroochy and Caloundra. Being part of the movement to first prevent that amalgamation, and then bring about a de-amalgamation, was a great way to cut his political teeth.
In 2012 he was elected – on a de-amalgamation platform - to the Sunshine Coast Regional Council. Half-way through that four year term, the political planets aligned, and Noosa was de-amalgamated. He was then elected to the new Noosa Council under Mayor Noel Playford. At the 2016 local government elections, when Noel stepped down, Tony was elected as Mayor.
Grant Hinner is the Program Coordinator, Climate Change Adaptation at Noosa Shire Council.
Strategically-minded, communicative, and considered in his approach, Grant has a background in corporate responsibility and sustainability strategy, and is committed to creating impactful and practical solutions. He thrives on identifying and pursuing forward-thinking changes that successfully adhere to the principle of "People, Planet and Profit."
Grant has a diverse skill set in program management, performance reporting, policy development and stakeholder engagement formed through his experience across the climate change and sustainability spectrum within the infrastructure, mining, real estate and government sectors. He believes strongly in helping the organisations, communities and other key stakeholders he works with to do things better while continuing to grow and walking a more sustainable and resilient path.
Moving from the argy bargy of Sydney to Noosa in 2017, Grant and his wife have chosen to settle down in the shire for the long term, with a mind to raising their own family in close proximity to their friends and family; leading a low-impact and relaxed lifestyle; and having ready access to some of the best waves on the planet. Therefore he has a strong personal motivation for ensuring Noosa plays its part in responding to the challenges posed by climate change.