Katter calls for referendum on new state
MAYOR Jenny Hill's decision to join the new state campaign has reignited calls for a referendum.
Long-term North Queensland state enthusiast, Bob Katter has called for residents north of the Tropic of Capricorn take the matter to a vote.
The Federal Kennedy MP, Mr Katter, welcomed the support of Cr Hill, the mayor of North Queensland's biggest city.
Yesterday, Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill put her support behind the North Queensland region becoming a new state.
Mr Katter said the referendum should take place at the 2024 local government elections.
"The ballot paper should ask north Queensland residents whether they want to become a territory, as a first step towards statehood," he said.
"I believe this will easily get a majority of votes, and most importantly we will still be able to play State of Origin with Queensland."
Mr Katter said "anyone with a pair of eyes" could see North Queensland was missing out when compared to Brisbane.
"The southeast corner would have more than 200 overpasses, and yet we only have 13 up in north Queensland," he said.
"They have a $1 billion building, the tower of power, just to house their government workers and bureaucrats. They are building a second motorway to the Gold Coast, whereas we have a one-lane, goat-track called the Bruce Highway, and the Flinders Highway is falling apart.
"We are the only area on earth where nearly one-million people are governed by a government 1,500 kilometres away. This can't continue.
"If north Queensland was a separate country it would be the richest country on earth, with all its coal, the bulk of Australia's copper and silver-lead-zinc deposits, almost all of our bauxite, and it would be the wettest country on earth. And yet the governments in Canberra and Brisbane have failed to recognise this."
But the state government is not behind the idea, with Treasurer Cameron Dick saying working together was what made Queensland successful.
"The people of Townsville will need to be very careful about the question the Mayor has put to them," Mr Dick said.
"Townsville, if there was a North Queensland state, would be responsible for the economic recovery of Cairns.
"Cairns is one of those communities that has felt the brunt of COVID-19 most severely, they really felt the hammer blow and they're struggling to recover."
"I think a large and diverse state means great outcomes for the people of Queensland, wherever they live."
Originally published as Katter calls for referendum on NQ state