Opinion – North focus a huge win

17 September 2013
The Cairns Post
IN lieu of retaining his position as party Whip – but this time in an elected administration – Warren Entsch has opted instead to chair a special committee for the development of northern Australia.
For Leichhardt constituents, it should be viewed as a win.
The position of government Whip is a demanding one, highlighted by the fact that Mr Entsch loses four staff members by relinquishing those duties.
It’s more of a political role than it is a representative duty; much of his time is spent co-ordinating the movements of his colleagues in Parliament. Mr Entsch can now devote his energy to one of the nation’s largest and most diverse electorates in Australia.
As chair of a northern Australia committee, he is in a better position to influence policies relating to the top end, an area its residents will argue has been neglected, and not just by the previous government.
As he enters his sixth term in Parliament, Mr Entsch will have a comprehensive knowledge of the issues facing northern Australia.
His electorate, like others on the same latitude, comprises several small townships, a large indigenous population, sectors such as agriculture, mining and fishing, and challenges such as remoteness, wild elements and the need to balance industry and environment.
The problems that consume metropolitan stakeholders – like fast broadband access for example – must seem trivial at times for people in vast frontier regions where a weather event can destroy livelihoods.
It seems the formation of the committee and the appointment of a northern Australian MP to its helm adds substance to Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott’s promise that his government is “serious about developing our north”.
We’ll keep him to that.
Courtesy of The Cairns Post