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North Queensland delegation promotes the region's capability in the capital

Townsville Enterprise and North Queensland Mayors will travel to Canberra next week to directly engage with national leaders to promote the region’s Federal Budget Submission which encourages the Commonwealth to unlock the north through policy reform and investment towards key industries that can support the nation’s recovery and jobs.

The Townsville Enterprise led delegation, supported by Member for Herbert Phil Thompson and Senator for Queensland Susan McDonald, includes Burdekin Mayor and NQROC Chair Lyn McLaughlin, Charters Towers Mayor Frank Beveridge, Hinchinbrook Mayor Ramon Jayo and Townsville Deputy Mayor Mark Molachino who will meet with several Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet Ministers at Parliament House from Monday 22 February to Thursday 25 February.

Meetings secured include the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Minister for Energy Angus Taylor, Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud, Minister for Water, Resources & Northern Australia Keith Pitt, Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers, Assistant Minister for Defence Andrew Hastie, Shadow Minister for Queensland Resources Murray Watt, and Shadow Minister for Defence Brendan O’Connor.

Townsville Enterprise Interim CEO, Wayde Chiesa said the delegation will converge on Parliament House to send a united message that the north can play a leading role in the nation’s COVID-19 economic recovery.

“We have secured 21 meetings with senior members of Cabinet and the Opposition to highlight the key North Queensland industries that can not only support our regional economy, but that of the nation’s through significant job creation and long-term economic resilience building,” said Mr Chiesa.

“COVID-19 has brought the importance of traditional industries to the forefront, as without these key sectors in the north such as agriculture, mining, minerals processing, Defence and health, the national economy would look much different today.

“We know it won’t be an overnight cure, but over the next few days in Canberra we will be endorsing the roadmap we have outlined in our Federal Budget Submission that puts significant recovery and resilience plans in place to ensure communities and industries from North Queensland prosper and the nation can get back on its feet and into jobs as soon as possible.”

Hells Gates Dam, lowering energy costs through projects like CopperString 2.0, the Mount Isa to Townsville Supply Chain, Defence industry building through NQ SPARK, further investment into upgrading Reef HQ Aquarium and eco-tourism, the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct, and regional insurance reform are just some of the nationally significant projects and policies that will be raised with the relevant Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet portfolios.

The delegation will not only be promoting a strong pipeline of nation-building projects, but also highlighting the challenges restricting the region from reaching its full potential, including the overdue need for reliable and affordable power and the cost and coverage of insurance.

NQROC Chair and Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said previous delegations had achieved positive outcomes for the North Queensland region.

“Making phone calls and submitting applications for support is one thing, but having a presence where these decisions are being made and conducting open discussions with both sides of politics in person will ensure North Queensland’s united voice is heard loud and clear,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“The North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils’ Unlock the North campaign encapsulates projects right across our region that will not only deliver more jobs for locals, but position North Queensland as the perfect location to live, play, work and invest.”

Townsville Deputy Mayor Mark Molachino said meeting with Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar will be critical in terms of highlighting the insurance issues North Queensland continues to face.

“Average insurance premiums in northern Australia are now almost double those in the rest of the country,” Cr Molachino said.

“The prohibitive cost and, in some cases, lack of insurance available is a major impediment to our regional achieving its full potential.

“The Federal Government has previously promised to take action, but we are yet to see any meaningful change. Northern Australia needs action now. We cannot afford for this issue to continue any longer.”

All sides of politics have embraced the opportunity to meet and understand the Unlock the North plan at Parliament House next week across a comprehensive meeting and event program engaging with Cabinet, Shadow Ministry, and Katter’s Australian Party.

To download a copy of the 2021 Townsville North Queensland Federal Government Budget Submission, visit townsvillenterprise.com.au.

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