Step out of shadows
Minister looks at tourism and agriculture
IT’S not just capital cities that can overshadow regional areas, as Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie urges government departments to look beyond smaller cities like Cairns and the Gold Coast when exploring regional opportunities.
The council met with Member for Maranoa David Littleproud yesterday to discuss issues facing the region, but also advocate for the growth of the Southern Downs.
Cr Dobie said it was important for regions to have a voice, as the council had discussed their submission to the government’s Inquiry into the Indicators of, and Impact of, Regional Inequality in Australia. The inquiry committee has also been invited to sit in either Stanthorpe or Warwick.
“When state and federal government think regional, they think about the Gold Coast and they think about Cairns or Toowoomba, they forget that we are classified as regional,” she said.
Cr Dobie said the meeting was designed to ensure Mr Littleproud and the government keep the Southern Downs in mind when making decisions.
This included when looking to decentralise power from the Canberra political hub.
“We have all the infrastructure here and we could easily accommodate a number of governmental staff if they’re looking at putting small groups out,” Cr Dobie said.
“We do have the need for more employees and we’re looking for opportunities.”
During the visit Mr Littleproud also launched the Southern Downs and Granite Belt Tourism
Market Research Program report, which was funded through the Building Better Regions Fund.
“Agriculture is the common thread that links Maranoa together, adding tourism to the boat broadens our economic base,” Mr Littleproud said.
“We have a unique opportunity close to Brisbane, we can get day trippers and those starting their journey in Queensland heading to the outback.”
Live exports were also discussed in the meeting, as were issues associated with drought and water management.
Cr Dobie said Mr Littleproud explained the negative impact discontinuing live exports would have on the region, as there would be too many sheep and cattle.
“That would have an impact on our region because price would drop.”