The first ever Townsville Enterprise and Townsville Bulletin State Election 'Debate of the Leaders' was a resounding success, strongly supported by Townsville Enterprise members, stakeholders and a large contingent of national, state and local media.
As we enter the crucial home straight of the upcoming State Election, we couldn’t have had a more relevant panel to kick off the 'Townsville Enterprise/Townsville Bulletin Great Debate Series'. We were privileged to host the Leader of the Liberal National Party (LNP) - Tim Nicholls MP, the One Nation Party - Steve Dickson MP and Katter's Australian Party (KAP) - Robbie Katter MP.
Energy, Water and Transport were the key issues discussed throughout this morning's debate. All three proponents agreed to a HELE Coal Fired Power Station in the North, however there were differing policies on immediate, medium and long-term priorities for the region.
The Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line was a strong narrative across the debate, with the LNP pledging to refer the project to the Queensland Productivity Commission to improve speed and reliability of the rail line. The LNP also announced that they intend to match Labor's commitment of $3.1M for the feasibility of the Battery Manufacturing Plant in Townsville, as well as publicly reiterating Adani's NAIF Loan Application for the Carmichael Project Rail Line.
It was disappointing to hear that all three candidates would not make a financial commitment to the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA). The leaders of the LNP, One Nation and Katter Party all declared that the project was not an immediate priority. Townsville Enterprise acknowledges that solutions for water, energy and crime in the region are paramount, but as is the future of Townsville North Queensland's tourism industry. A financial commitment of only $5M towards MOUA could help secure that future. The ALP has made a commitment of $2M towards this project.
Townsville Enterprise wishes to thank all three candidates for rearranging their diaries to ensure their attendance at this significant event for North Queensland. The Opposition Leader, in particular, has been in high demand during the election campaign and his attendance was appreciated.
It is also important to note that the Townsville Enterprise stage is one of respect, partnership and statesman like behaviour, and visual references towards the Premier's absence was not endorsed by Townsville Enterprise.
While we were disappointed that the Premier was unable to attend, we have worked very well and respectfully with her Government and the state members over the past three years to support the delivery of a number of successful investments and initiatives for our region. We want to continue working with all parties post-Saturday and we hope whoever forms Government continues this respectful relationship with us and our region.