Split Queensland map.
Split Queensland map. Tom Gillespie

Mackay not getting back what it gives to Queensland

THE lack of Senators in North Queensland has been thrown into the spotlight during an inquiry into the resources sector.

Mayor Greg Williamson told the inquiry, chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, that the region barely sees a return from the billions in royalties it sends to government.

"We've got 174,000 people living in this area against the 4 million people that live in southeast Queensland," he said.

"We have good representation here but when you look at Australia, and you draw a line, at Bundaberg for instance, and look north of that line, there are 10 Federal representatives.

"And in Queensland there are six... two of those Senators, soon to be one.

"When you look at where we get the representation from, in a democracy, a lot of the money is going to be spent where the seats are."

The lack of Senators north of Rockhampton has been a bone of contention for both the Federal coalition and the Labor party after Townsville-based Senator Ian Macdonald announced his retirement at the next election.

Dawson MP George Christensen said he would prefer a state of North Queensland using the Tropic of Capricorn as the border.

"The least [the State government] could do is mandate that four Senators must come from the north of that line," he said.

"The State government would have to move it in Parliament but it could happen because there is a provision in the constitution that allows for Senators in Queensland to be elected regional rather than as a whole state."