Water security, road investment and environmental management will be on the table when Cairns Mayor Bob Manning joins with fellow Far North Queensland mayors to discuss issues of regional importance with the nation’s leaders in Canberra next week.
Led by Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (FNQROC) Chair Mayor Tom Gilmore of Mareeba Shire Council, the 12-person group will meet with more than 30 ministers, senators and representatives from both sides of government.
“We have been granted access to some of the government’s most senior ministers, as well as key shadow ministers, to discuss issues that are important to our region,” Cr Manning said.
“We are going in with an extensive agenda that represents the region’s strategic economic priorities – issues that we feel are preventing the Far North from achieving its true potential on a national scale.
“Far North Queensland is the largest and fastest growing region in Northern Australia. It contributes a gross regional product of $14.5 billion annually, yet is still lacking in some vital infrastructure.”
Discussions will take in road planning and investment, water and energy security, management of the Great Barrier Reef and other environmentally sensitive tourist drawcards, digital connectivity, support for Indigenous communities, and the availability of financial assistance grants, among other topics.
“These are issues that are important for Far North Queensland as a whole,” Cr Manning said. “We are going in to bat for residents and businesses across the region and to put our case for improved government support and to open lines of communication on important matters that need a collaborative approach.
“These are the types of discussions that need strong regional leadership to be successful. I’m proud to be standing alongside my fellow mayors on behalf of the FNQ community.”
The delegation also includes mayors from the Cassowary Coast, Douglas, Cook, Carpentaria, Croydon, Yarrabah, Etheridge and Tablelands councils, and the CEO of Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire.
Among the Ministers with whom the delegation will meet are Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matthew Canavan, Finance and Public Service Minister Mathias Cormann, Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne, and Minister for Energy Angus Taylor.
Other meetings include Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development and Tourism Anthony Albanese, and Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Steve Irons.
The group will remain in Canberra for three days, returning on Thursday evening.
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