THE idea of a separate state for North Queensland should be determined by a referendum of North Queenslanders only, Member for Dawson George Christensen says.
The Federal MP said he would write to all MPs, senators and mayors who represent areas above the Tropic of Capricorn to invite them to be part of a concerted push for such a move.
“This issue has been talked about for too long and what we really need now is some action,” Mr Christensen said.
“The people of the north deserve a fair hearing on this, and a group of influential state, federal and local government leaders would be well placed to push for a referendum on the formation of a new state of North Queensland.
“Such a referendum should only be open for North Queenslanders to vote in.”Mr Christensen said this was an issue he had advocated for since he was first elected, and he believed the top half of the state had all the necessary attributes to be a super state.
“Right now we’re being told what we can and can’t do here by a government that is located 1000 km plus from where we live, and it’s a government that’s beholden to capital city interests,” he said.
“And in most cases those capital city interests are not aligned with our interests at all.
“We’ve got an inner-city Brisbane MP Jackie Trad who wants to put in place laws that control what farmers can and can’t do on their own land, so essentially she’s working to ensure that there will never be expansion of agriculture in North Queensland.
“A new state in the north could be a boom state and turn around a lot of the ill fortunes of our communities.
“We could have a state that has no payroll tax and no stamp duty; a state that actually spends the mining royalties money, or at least a large proportion of it, in the areas that it’s taken from and the areas that are impacted by resources activity, instead of the less than 0.5% of royalties funding that’s currently delivered back to these regional communities.
“I believe farmers have a right to manage their land and increase their productivity, and I believe mine workers have a right to continue to hold jobs through expanding the resources sector.
“We have the resources, we have the agricultural footprint, and we’ve got some of the best tourism spots in the country.
“Why couldn’t we go it alone and be the best performing state in the nation?”