NOOSA mayor Tony Wellington, just one year in the job, has strongly endorsed a project initiated by the Simbu provincial government to establish a relationship between the people of Simbu in Papua New Guinea and Noosa Shire in Australia.
Cr Wellington also advised that two of his six councillors expressed enthusiasm about participating personally in Projek Wantok (Project Friendship) and will do so.
He was responding formally to an invitation from Simbu Governor, Hon Noah Kool Yalba MP, to sanction the project at an official level.
“I would like to extend the hand of friendship to yourself and the people of Simbu on behalf of Noosa Council and its residents,” Cr Wellington wrote.
“We have two Noosa councillors who are keen to participate in Projek Wantok, and Keith will make contact with them.
“I appreciate that this opportunity will be a cultural exchange encouraging young people and community leaders to share information and interests,” Cr Wellington (pictured outside the council chambers) said.
“I also appreciate that the project will not require resourcing by Noosa Council, but will be a voluntary community effort with Council support. I enjoyed meeting the Papua New Guinean writers that visited our Shire last year.”
Councillors Jess Glasgow and Dr Brian Stockwell will participate in the 12-month pilot scheme which will establish teams focussing on portfolio areas such as government, education, the environment, women’s affairs, sport, tourism and the arts.
Team leaders will be appointed in both Simbu and Noosa who will define and manage projects in each specialist area.
Cr Stockwell (left) has been re-elected to Noosa Council after an absence of some years during which he completed a doctorate in environmental planning. He is a firm advocate for the region’s indigenous population and, when being sworn in as a councillor, read part of his speech in the local Kabi Kabi language.