Article – Support for the North

13 November 2013
Hailey Renault
North West Star
FORCES from the north banded together in support of recognising the potential boom in northern Australia at the opening of the 44th Parliament this week.
Senator Ian MacDonald said the commitment to the development of northern Australia by the coalition in the Governor General’s speech was welcome, despite his inability to drive development from the front bench.
The Senator, who toured the North West during the federal election campaign with the then Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey and energy and resources spokesman Ian Macfarlane, was denied a significant position with the government after the September election.
Leichardt MP Warren Entsch was the only north Queenslander given a top role in the 44th Parliament, taking on the chair position of a committee to guide government policy for northern Australia.
Senator MacDonald told the Senate yesterday he was still determined to make sure the north was not forgotten again.
“It is not just about water and mines, although 60 per cent of Australia’s rainfall falls above the Tropic of Capricorn and 60 per cent of our export earning originate there, but there is so much more that northern Australia offers,” he said.
He also highlighted the struggles faced by the beef industry, investment in tropical medicine, the need for better connections with Asia and the need for more defence forces in the north.
Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady was also determined to get a good result for the north before the coalition’s white paper release in 12 months.
He said his council would seek a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and other relevant ministers to make sure the need for a better tax zone allowance was heard.
“What I hope to do is make this a national campaign to bring home to the government the urgency of the zone allowance,” he said.
Courtesy of the North West Star