House debates

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Statements by Members

North Queensland

1:40 pm

Photo of George ChristensenGeorge Christensen (Dawson, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

North Queensland is a major economic driver for this nation, but there are many untapped tourism opportunities for new resorts and new experiences around the reef, the rainforest and the outback. There are opportunities in agriculture, through the construction of more dams to open up new agricultural land. There is much more opportunity in the resources sector; we have not even scratched the surface of the enormous Galilee Basin. But these opportunities and the infrastructure needs of the north will never be taken seriously while the state capital is based in and focused on Brisbane and the south-east corner. Brisbane is closer to Sydney than it is to Mackay and closer to Melbourne than it is to Cairns, both geographically and ideologically. Only one senator in this place lives in North Queensland and only one lives in Central Queensland. Compare this with the 12 Tasmanian senators in a state with about half the population of Central and North Queensland.

The only way North Queensland will reach its full potential is through the creation of a North Queensland state run by North Queenslanders willing to let North Queensland shine. The only thing that can prevent North Queensland becoming a state is people thinking it can't be done or a government refusing to enable a referendum for the people of North Queensland to have a vote. I know it can happen. I want it to happen. That's why I will be pushing for change within the Liberal National Party to allow a policy to allow for a referendum for the people of North Queensland to have their own state.