Unlock the North Canberra Delegation | Day 3

25th February 2021

It was another full meeting program today engaging with Cabinet, Shadow Cabinet Ministers and Senior Advisers on Day 3 of the Unlock the North delegation to Parliament House in Canberra.

One of the most critical issues our region has long been facing was taken to the highest level today, where we had the opportunity to discuss insurance affordability and the market failure of an essential service directly with the Minister tasked with delivering the solution, Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar. We were joined by Member for Herbert Phil Thompson who's strong voice on this issue in Canberra was acknowledged by the Assistant Treasurer. It was a positive discussion with Minister Sukkar and we look forward to hearing the Government's plans to finally resolve this major issue which has been strangling our community and inhibiting investment for far too long.

We also had the opportunity to brief the Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese on our region's key projects and policies who was well across the consistent advocacy platform presented from our region. During this meeting we were also joined by the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Catherine King. We acknowledge the Opposition Leader's engagement with Townsville Enterprise and were encouraged by his focus on the role that growing Defence industry will play into the future and the importance of North Queensland's key strengths to the nation's COVID-19 economic recovery.

The delegation also met with Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers, who due to the wide-ranging nature of the areas his portfolio touches was provided a comprehensive overview of our recently submitted Townsville North Queensland Federal Budget Submission. The Shadow Treasurer acknowledged the linkages our delegation made as we told the story of North Queensland's role as a key enabler to the nation's COVID-19 economic recovery and expressed his appreciation of the timing of our briefing leading up to the Federal Budget in May.

Senator Murray Watt has recently added Shadow Queensland Resources Minister to his Shadow Northern Australia portfolio and we welcomed the opportunity to meet with him today. We discussed key North Queensland enabling infrastructure including CopperString 2.0, the Mount Isa to Townsville Supply Chain and the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct. Across these updates the Senator reiterated his firm focus on supporting the traditional industries of mining and agriculture with new industries to diversify the regions and create long-term jobs for Northern Australia.

Productive meetings were also held across the day with the Senior Advisers to Minister for Environment Sussan Ley; Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews; Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation Ed Husic; and the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt.

The day was rounded out meeting with the recently appointed Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan who shared his family's long history of holidaying on Magnetic Island and his knowledge of the city. We updated the Minister on the additional funding required to complete the full upgrade of Reef HQ, eco-tourism opportunities such as the Paluma to Wallaman Falls Multi-Day Trail, the Northern Australia Cultural Precinct, and the significant workforce challenges the tourism sector continues to face across our region. In regard to Trade, we provided briefings on the diversity of our region's trade portfolio from Charters Towers beef and gold export, the Burdekin and Hinchinbrook sugarcane export, and the increasing opportunities in aquaculture and manufacturing.

Published 24 February 2021

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