Family and friends are today mourning the passing of one of north Queensland’s favourite daughters, Noeline Ikin.
The passionate rural advocate and former political candidate lost her battle with a malignant brain tumour at around 11.30am, according to her daughter Gabriella Gross.
The news follows Gabriella’s message in early January that as the result of a perforated bowel, possibly caused by the treatment she was receiving for her cancer, her weakened state meant she was no longer able to receive treatment for the tumour.
“We are now in the final stages of this journey,” Gabriella said.
Noeline, from the Gulf Savannah community of Georgetown, was widely regarded as a person who fought for the people of the north in all sorts of ways.
She was the CEO of the Northern Gulf Resource Management Group from 2001 until 2013, when she ran a fierce campaign for the Queensland LNP at the 2013 federal election in the seat of Kennedy, almost toppling veteran independent Bob Katter, reducing his lead to 2.2 per cent with a 16.1pc swing.
She had again been pre-selected to contest the 2016 federal election and was widely tipped to improve on the 2013 result, when she was forced to withdraw her nomination in January with the announcement of the development of the tumour.
“Sometimes life has turning points and this is mine, as such I need to resign as your candidate and focus on proving that a bad diagnosis does not have to mean a bad outcome - just another battle of a different type,” were her courageous words at the time.
Noeline received treatment from one of Australia’s leading neurosurgeons, Dr Charlie Teo.
Always thinking of the people of the north, Noeline used her cancer treatment as an opportunity to improve the wider understanding and access to cancer treatment for northern and rural people.
Tributes have flowed in today, acknowledging the profound impact she had on many lives and the qualities she exhibited in her own life.
They include Richmond mayor and Northern Australia Advisory Committee chairman, John Wharton, who said Noeline’s passing was a “tragic loss of a very good woman, who we all admired for her strength and tenacity”.
Neill Newton, the Northern Gulf Resource Management Group CEO who took over the reins from Noeline, said she had become a friend.
“This is heartbreaking news. She is a star and highly respected,” he said.
Noeline bravely faced her diagnosis, telling supporters in an open letter last year, “I am not afraid to say that I have a malignant primary brain tumour, grade three verging on grade four.”
She had been heavily involved in pushing strategic solutions to help resolve debt and drought issues for farmers and graziers, especially in Queensland.
Her core initiative to help reduce business risk for farmers and financial options was a tax loss credit swap scheme that was modelled by the Coalition.
Funeral plans will be advised on Tuesday.