North can state its case at talkfest
IMAGINE all the university degrees and politician hours that have achieved the following brilliant outcome. We now have three levels of government with different definitions of North Queensland.
The Federal Government’s white paper defines North Queensland as Queensland north of the Tropic of Capricorn. The Queensland Government defines North Queensland as the combination of local governments from Mackay northwards and locally we have Townsville Enterprise, largely supported by our local councils, promoting North Queensland as the five local councils in the ABS defined Townsville Region.
Yes all three levels of government agree to disagree on a simple and effective definition of North Queensland. If it weren’t a serious marketing challenge for the Magnetic Coast it would be fodder for a comedy like Yes Minister.
Maybe the North Australia convention being held in Townsville can sort it out and maybe they can answer the question why there are no states in their definition of North Australia. States and capitals get all the GST and have major fiscal influence. Why not a state in North Australia that supports our people?
There needs to be open, educated and mature discussion about creating new states right across Australia to bring government closer to the people. Interestingly Queensland Senator Matt Canavan has joined the growing group of federal politicians who are prosecuting for more states in Australia.
Unsurprisingly this group comprises regional- based politicians supporting better government for all Australians.
When developed, the Constitution accommodated the creation of new states. The intention and vision was clear. There have been several attempts using sections of the Constitution to create new states and even for states to secede from the Commonwealth.
Each secessionist referendum has been worthwhile, because you don’t get marked down for standing up for your region but more importantly some referendums and debates achieved significant fiscal rewards.
In 1933 Western Australia successfully voted for secession from Australia. They sent the bill off to London who promptly sent it back and asked ‘ Cantberra’ to deal with it. ‘ Cantberra’ rejected it but the reward for isolated prosperous Western Australia was the creation of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. We have those brave people to thank for enduring and improved state fiscal equalisation.
Is it time regional Australia prosecuted a similar case?
Apparently Senator Canavan plans to put a submission into the Federation White Paper, renewing the push for a new state “to better represent” Queensland’s north.
This is a way to represent the people living in our region. There’s a chance the separate state concept will succeed but what concession would you seek in return for loyalty? Access to direct GST distributions from the Federal Government?