COSTO’S CAPITAL IDEA: Mackay snubbed as state hub
WHITSUNDAY MP Jason Costigan will forge ahead with his plan to achieve statehood for North Queensland, but the capital of Australia's seventh state would not be Mackay.
Mr Costigan (pictured) has put forward Townsville as his pick for a North Queensland capital city.
"It's my adopted city … It's a place that's been very kind to me," he said.
Griffith University political expert Paul Williams said it was hard to say what impact the choice might have on potential voters.
"People around Mackay would be unhappy. Obviously, if he had said his own neighbourhood should be the capital I think it would see him maximise support," he said.
"But it would lack credibility, as (a possible North Queensland capital) has only ever been narrated as Townsville or Cairns."
During a foundation meeting of his North Queensland First political party this week, Mr Costigan also outlined his list of winnable "key seats".
Those seats include Burdekin, Mirani, Keppel, Cook and Thuringowa.
"I think we need to try to win a handful of seats if we're fair dinkum," Mr Costigan said.
"A lot of people out there don't trust the major parties like they used to."
The party plans to target all 18 seats in North Queensland.
The independent MP has already informally approached potential candidates, and will be officially announcing them in the new year.
But Mr Costigan said he would pull out all stops to retain his seat, which is under threat from strong contenders in LNP candidate Amanda Camm and Labor's Tracey Cameron.
"I don't take Whitsunday for granted and unless we win Whitsunday again, we're not going anywhere," Mr Costigan said.
"So needless to say, massive resources are being put in to defend the seat of Whitsunday.
"But at the same time, (we're) making sure we make every effort so I can have a few mates in parliament after the next state election."
Mr Costigan's North Queensland First party officials are president Richard Filewood and secretary and treasurer Angela Nixon.
Mr Filewood is the former chairman of the LNP Whitsunday State Electorate Council and Ms Nixon is the former secretary/treasurer.
Both resigned from their posts earlier this year after Mr Costigan's expulsion from the party in the wake of harassment allegations. Mr Costigan has denied any wrongdoing and has flagged legal action over the allegations.