David Nolte (born 4 August 1955) is an Australian pharmacist, small businessman, philanthropist, former local government councillor and advocate for improved mental health services, particularly in adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).


Nolte graduated from Monash University in 1976 and established his pharmacy in Carlton North in 1979. A strong advocate of the role of community pharmacy in delivering quality health outcomes for Australians, he became actively involved in representing pharmacy issues to the Australian Government. In 1989 he took part in the Community and Pharmacy Support (CAPS) campaign against a Hawke Government proposal to reduce pharmacy numbers. The campaign achieved widespread media coverage in the marginal Federal electorate of Bendigo held by John Brumby. The campaign achieved community support and resulted in the first Guild-Government Agreement for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). From 1980 to 2010 he served as an elected Councillor to the Pharmacy Guild of Victoria, and from 1996 to 2005 served as an elected National Councillor to the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. He was involved in working parties related to pharmacotherapy and the treatment of mental illness.

An early advocate on negative health impacts and comorbidities caused by obstructive sleep apnoea, Nolte established Sleep Health Australia in 1995 and personally funded information and promotion of the issue to the wider community and eventually became a supplier of CPAP machines and services into Australia.

Adult Attention Deficit Disorder

Nolte is an advocate for better assistance and support for adults managing whole of life attention deficit disorder (ADD). He advocates that PBS data demonstrates less than 5% of psychiatrists and pediatricians in Victoria have any history of having diagnosed an adult with ADD, or prescribing appropriate medication. He also advocates for slow release ADD medication to be made available under the national Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Following overseas visits to the UK, USA and Europe to consult with practitioners in ADD/ADHD, Nolte identified that Victoria lags behind world best practice in ADD with few adults assisted to manage whole of life ADD. From his overseas experience Nolte has identified an adult ADD support clinic methodology for implementation in Australia.


As a community pharmacist Nolte frequently funds local support programs for local families of indigenous background and vulnerable adults, often people with ADD, who may be burdened with multiple economic and social difficulties including homelessness, alcoholism, family breakdown and drug addiction. By joining up health, community and other allied services and applying a caseworking approach his programs have achieved measurable, positive results for individuals.

Political Career

From 1988 to 1993 Nolte was an elected Councilor at the Melbourne City Council. He won decisive poll results in the Princess Ward and represented his ward as a socially progressive small 'L' Liberal. For several years he chaired the Economic and Corporate Services and the Community and Cultural Committees posts and held the effective status of Deputy Lord Mayor (a position formalised in 1996).

An economic reformist and prominent powerbroker [1] Nolte drove planning and implementation of several ground breaking council environmental and economic reforms including the highly controversial introduction of Australia’s first wheelie bins, compulsory competitive tendering and best value policy for continuous improvement in council services. All of Nolte's reforms have since been adopted by local government across Australia. [Best Value policy was adopted in the UK in 1997 and Victoria in 1998.]

In 1993 Nolte was expected to become Lord Mayor of Melbourne, however the council was unexpectedly sacked when the Jeff Kennett Victorian Government implemented an unannounced program of local government amalgamations. The amalgamations reduced the total number of councils in Victoria from 217 to 79. Elected councillors were sacked and temporarily replaced with commissioners. Nolte did not return to local government in 1996 when the City of Melbourne was returned to democratic government.

During the mid 1990’s Nolte challenged the Kennett Government several times over various policy issues, most notably the contentious and unpopular decision to excise Carlton North from the City of Melbourne boundaries. He has been a public advocate for reunification since 1993. In 1988-89 Nolte was involved in the unsuccessful bid by the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government to host the 1996 Olympic Games (won by Atlanta). In 1990-91 he supported council investment in the modernisation of the Great Southern Stand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Melbourne Community and Cultural Committee

As Chair of the Community and Cultural Committee Nolte revitalised council’s arts investment program, which commissioned street sculpture and the adoption of the popular council ‘leaf’ logo designed by Richard Henderson. In 1989 Nolte identified an opportunity for Melbourne to forge an arts based sister city relationship with St Petersburg, Russia and began negotiations. Nolte’s most contentious decision as Chair of the Cultural Committee was to make $60M available from the City of Melbourne for the restoration of the dilapidated heritage listed Regent Theatre when the Mariner Group struck financial difficulty in the 1991-92 Recession. [2].

Sister City Relationship - St Petersburg

Nolte led the City of Melbourne to establish a sister city relationship with St Petersburg Russia, following the 1989 Dissolution of the USSR in 1989. In November 1991 Nolte led a Council delegation to St Petersburg to formalise the official relationship. This estabslished a cultural exchange program that produced a tour of Australia by the Kirov Ballet and a planned tour of major art treasures from the Hermitage Museum, a project which halted when the council was sacked in 1993.

Nelson Mandela - Keys to the City

Nolte was a public supporter for the release of South African political prisoner Nelson Mandela. Following Mandela's release in February 1990, Nolte and Labor councilors won a split council vote in March 1990 to invite Mandela to Melbourne and make him a Freeman of the city. Melbourne subsequently became the first stop on an international tour by the future South African President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. On 25 October 1990 following a civic ceremony at the Melbourne Town Hall, Mandela was made a Freeman of the City [3].

Vladimir Putin - Humanitarian Aid to St Petersburg

In 1991 a Melbourne City Council delegation held discussions in St Petersburg with mayor Anatoly Sobchak and Vladimir Putin, then head of the Committee for External Relations of the Saint Petersburg Mayor's Office, who had responsibility for promoting international relations and foreign investments. Nolte, Putin and the combined Melbourne and St Petersburg delegations organised an emergency food aid program from Melbourne to assist the people of St Petersburg to survive the 1991 winter.

Dalai Lama - Official Welcome

In 1992 the Dalai Lama announced his second visit to Australia. He had received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and large crowds were expected to attend his teachings in Melbourne. Nolte proposed that council provide a formal welcome and mark the visit by planting the Dalai Lama tree in the Carlton Gardens. Nolte met His Holiness and conveyed the support of the City of Melbourne for the establishment of the Tibet Information Office in Canberra and a formal representative of the Tibetan Government in exile on Australian soil.


External links

See also

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