Katter’s Australian Party says a $70 billion rail proposal for south east Queensland is a slap in the face to North Queenslanders and supports the argument for North Queensland to break away and become self-governing.
The KAP says the State Labor Government is looking at pie in the sky proposals to save itself at the next state election, funded by the resurgence in coal prices and the likely start of the giant Adani coal mine.
KAP State Leader and Member for Traeger, Robbie Katter wants $250,000 allocated by the State Government to look at the economic, legal and cultural elements of a separate state in North Queensland.
“I bet this Government is spending a lot more on supporting the Jeff Horn/Anthony Mundine fight later this year in Brisbane, than the $250,000 requested to map out the costs and benefits of North Queenslanders being able to govern themselves,” he said.
“This Government has brought out the Adani credit card and is starting to spend the coal royalties, the great bulk of which come from North Queensland.
“We do not want to see progress stopped in south east Queensland but fair go – what about the North?”
“We don’t want $70 billion. We just want to see a better allocation of government investment in infrastructure, human and natural resources.
“The first step is $250,000 to map out a plan. Queensland Rail spent $500,000 on organic soap and toiletries in 2017, so we are not asking for much from this government to prove that the North can stand on its own two feet.”
Mr Katter said respected demographer Bernard Salt had said as far back as 2010 that North Queensland had a case for secession. He said that case was even stronger today.
Mr Katter said the combined gross regional product from the economies of Townsville and Cairns was around $25 billion – the same as Tasmania, run by its own State Government.
“Even without Adani, combined mining royalties in Queensland generated in the North is about $5 billion and that money should flow to the North. It isn’t,” he said.
“This Government is spending over $500,000 on trade missions overseas every year; millions on promoting boxing matches in Brisbane and at least $30 million to try and attract the Hollywood film industry here.
“The $250,000 we are seeking is a drop in the ocean.
“Why is the Premier so scared of this independent study proceeding? The answer is she knows that it will prove the case for North Queensland to make its own way.”
Mr Katter said previous work done by Queensland Treasury estimated the gross domestic product for someone living in the north west of the state was $186,502 per person compared to $63.631 in the south east, yet the flow of investment back into the regions doesn’t reflect this.