premier vistiing stadium
premier vistiing stadium

Premier’s latest attempt to woo regions

AS she attempts to win over disillusioned regional voters in time for the next state election, Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a move she hopes will bring them closer.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has committed to the event as early as September in what will be the first time her Government has undertaken the extensive exercise in democracy.

"When the current parliament opened, I committed that we would bring this most fundamental part of our democracy to regional Queensland," she told The Courier-Mail.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk inspects progress on the North Queensland Stadium in Townsville yesterday. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk inspects progress on the North Queensland Stadium in Townsville yesterday. Picture: Alix Sweeney

"I am pleased to announce today that as early as September, parliament will sit here in Townsville."

The move comes on the back of a concerted push to reconnect with regional voters in the wake of the federal Government election drubbing, in which angry Queenslanders turned on Labor.

Federal Labor lost Herbert and Longman and failed to win over marginal Dawson, Capricornia and Leichardt amid anger over Adani. It now holds no seats north of Brisbane's Lilley.

Modelling on the results suggested a state election would see Townsville, Thuringowa, Mundingburra, Keppel, Rockhampton, Maryborough and Mackay fall like dominoes, taking out Ms Palaszczuk's hopes for a third term.

Regional parliament was most recently held in Mackay in 2011.
Regional parliament was most recently held in Mackay in 2011.

It will be the fifth time the parliament has convened outside of Brisbane's Parliament House, with Townsville holding the first in 2002.

It then sat every three years under the Beattie and Bligh governments, in Rockhampton in 2005, Cairns in 2008 and Mackay in 2011.

The most recent cost $650,000 as the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre was transformed into the House, where law was debated and a special late night Question Time was held for the community to attend.

"My cabinet already travels spends weeks at a time governing from regional areas of Queensland, but having parliament here gives the three Townsville MPs the chance to showcase the city and region to MPs from across the state," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Parliament House in Brisbane
Parliament House in Brisbane

"It's also a chance for Townsville locals and school children to come along and watch how parliament works.

The Premier said cabinet would also meet in Townsville on the Monday of the sitting week, with a community event to be held on the Friday.

Other details including dates and a venue for the Townsville regional parliament will be finalised in coming weeks.

"I question whether again in this environment where we are trying to save money whether the parliament going out is worth the expense," he said in 2012.