Re­gional growth high on agenda

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DOMANII CAMERON EX­CLU­SIVE

SUS­TAIN­ING and in­creas­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in re­gional Queens­land will dom­i­nate dis­cus­sions at this week­end’s Aus­tralian La­bor Party State Con­fer­ence.

More than $ 350,000 is ex­pected to be in­jected into Townsville as La­bor of­fi­cials de­scend on the re­gion.

Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten and Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk will be among lead­ers vis­it­ing the re­gion, with a wel­come din­ner at the Townsville En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre to kick off fes­tiv­i­ties tonight.

In a draft doc­u­ment ob­tained by the Bul­letin, the State Plat­form 2017 – to be dis­cussed to­mor­row – lists a num­ber of poli­cies in­clud­ing job cre­ation, healthy liv­ing and ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing de­vel­op­ments.

It says La­bor will re­duce emis­sions from land man­age­ment, trans­port and in­dus­try across a raft of mea­sures in­clud­ing in­ves­ti­gat­ing the fea­si­bil­ity of im­ple­ment­ing car­bon cap­ture and stor­age to ex­ist­ing coal- fired power sta­tions.

It also reaf­firms the party’s com­mit­ment to the Great Bar­rier Reef, say­ing it would re­view and strengthen ma­rine and coastal man­age­ment laws.

Mr Shorten and the Pre­mier will make key­note speeches to­mor­row from 9am, with eight plat­forms in­clud­ing “A Strong Econ­omy”, “Build­ing Connected Com­mu­ni­ties” and “Our En­vi­ron­ment Our Fu­ture” through­out the day.

While the draft doc­u­ment only men­tions Townsville specif­i­cally on eight oc­ca­sions, it flags “re­gional” 82 times.

Townsville MP Scott Ste­wart said the con­fer­ence was about “re­ally driv­ing home” what the key is­sues af­fect­ing Townsville were to Mr Shorten.

“What are we do­ing around the jobs agenda and what are we do­ing to pro­mote that, they’re some of the is­sues that will be dis­cussed,” he said.

“How do we get jobs that get the econ­omy mov­ing, what more do we need to do?”

Townsville hasn’t hosted the an­nual con­fer­ence since 1984, with the event to at­tract 399 del­e­gates. Up to 100 ac­tivists are also ex­pected to protest to­mor­row morn­ing, with lo­cal po­lice hav­ing en­gaged with var­i­ous groups al­ready.

Mr Ste­wart said the con­fer­ence would en­able La­bor to dis­cuss pol­icy de­vel­op­ment and es­tab­lish its po­si­tion on im­por­tant is­sues such as health and ed­u­ca­tion.

“I have a mo­tion or two that I will be pre­sent­ing,” he said. “It’s a very big event. “When it was at the Gold Coast last year it com­pletely packed out the con­ven­tion cen­tre down there.”

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