The nine mayors from North West Queensland would like to thank the people of Townsville for supporting their mates in the North West, as the two major and three cross-bench parties commit their support for North West Queensland and agree that a strong Townsville needs a strong region.
The mayors met in Townsville on 9-10 May and invited parties and candidates to take the final opportunity to formally respond to their request for a better regional deal before the Federal Election.
Carpentaria Shire Mayor and Chair of the NWQROC, Jack Bawden, said North West communities have long felt forgotten by the political process and if these communities continue to be ignored, it will also hurt Townsville’s efforts to build a better future.
“That’s why we developed our Six-Point Plan and called for a better regional deal. It’s also why we have worked closely with Townsville Enterprise in alliance on some aspects of engagement with Canberra since the floods and would like to thank Trish O’Callaghan and her team for their ongoing support,” he said.
“The election, as well as the close competition in Herbert, presented an important opportunity for all of us to have a louder voice. We know many people in Herbert do have sympathy with their neighbours and understand that a strong Townsville needs a strong region - not just as we recover from devastating flooding, but as we plan and build for the future.
Through tourism, beef exports, the North West Minerals Province and as the closest neighbouring administrative centre - the communities of the North West share a strong linkage and make a major regional economic contribution toward Townsville’s desire and need to build a stronger future as well.
“The message we gave the candidates and party representatives was clear - If you don’t support us in the North West, you can’t claim to be supporting Townsville – it’s that simple!” Cr Bawden said.
“Over the last six months, we have called on the Government, Opposition and Cross Bench to commit to our Six-Point Plan for a better regional deal. It’s encouraging that during our visit to Townsville last week, the Coalition, Labor Party and minor parties have all provided support for our Plan,” Cr Bawden said.
“Minister Matt Canavan, candidate for Herbert Phil Thompson OAM, and Senate candidate Susan McDonald represented the Coalition. We thank the Coalition for delivering written support for the broader aspirations of our Six-Point Plan. If re- elected, we look forward to working with a Coalition Government to deliver on their commitment to pursue further deals in regional Australia, which will include consideration of a regional deal for North West Queensland.
“Although we are yet to receive a written response from Labor’s campaign, we have had two constructive previous meetings with the Shadow Minister Stephen Jones, who indicated in-principle support for a regional deal across local, state and federal governments. Labor has announced several relevant regional initiatives that we are seeking additional detail about. At last week’s meeting in Townsville we had a positive conversation with Senator Murray Watt who represented Labor and we welcome Labor’s commitment to ongoing engagement with the NWQROC and plans for regional investment should they be elected to government on Saturday.
“Rounding out our agenda were meetings with candidates from Katter’s Australian Party, United Australia Party and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation parties. Should they be elected, their welcome support for our Plan from the cross bench will help ensure whoever governs delivers as we move forward.
“We welcome the written commitment from Bob Katter, Member for Kennedy and Leader of KAP to support our Six Point Plan. His support was reaffirmed in person by Herbert candidate Nanette Radeck. Mr. Katter has also written to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on behalf of NWQROC calling on each of them to support the plan.
“Greg Dowling, UAP candidate for Herbert has written on behalf of UAP House of Representatives and Senate Candidates, committing in-principle support for the Plan and for a better deal for the North West.
“Malcolm Roberts, One Nation Senate candidate has also written committing the party’s support to the NWQROC Plan for the region” Cr Bawden said.
“Whatever the outcome of Saturday’s election, the communities of the North West are in the best position they have been for a long time. All parties have committed to ongoing engagement with the NWQROC and provided either written or public support for our Six Point Plan and a willingness to explore a formal Regional Deal”.
“Finally, we are no longer out of sight and out of mind – we’re making headway on the delivery and critical investment in infrastructure and services that our region needs and deserves” he said.
Read the NWQROC Report on responses from the parties: Download Report Card
Read the formal responses received by NWQROC from the various parties at: www.nwqroc.com.au/fairregionaldeal/nwq-election-campaign-herbert/
Download the NWQROC Six-Point Plan at: www.nwqroc.com.au/fairregionaldeal/