THE bulk of Cape York’s mayors and council leaders will be in Cairns this week as the Far North is thrust into the spotlight with Queensland parliament visiting the region.
Far North Queensland Regional Parliament will be held at the Cairns Convention Centre from Tuesday to Thursday, while there are several Torres Strait and Cape-related events coinciding with the parliamentary visit.
The Torres and Cape Indigenous Councils Alliance will also meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, while the third Indigenous Local Government Disaster Resilience Forum will be held on Thursday.
Kowanyama mayor and TCICA chair Robbie Sands said it would be a good opportunity to put more of the region’s issues on the table.
“Every MP in the state is going to be on our doorstep and we need them to listen to our needs,” he told Cape York Weekly.
“Housing is still a major struggle in the Cape and Torres Strait and we’re hoping to get more answers from Ministers about what is happening in that space.”
As part of Regional Parliament, there will be a broader program of events during the week, with the Premier, Ministers and MPs to participate in events.
Regional mayors, Indigenous representatives, business and community leaders, and school groups will also be involved with events across the week.
Following a visit to Townsville in 2019, it will be the second time Parliament has ventured outside Brisbane since the Palaszczuk Government’s 2017 commitment to reintroduce regional sittings.
“Queensland is a big state, and we are taking the people’s Parliament to the people,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“Regional sittings of parliament are an important opportunity for locals – including our students – to not only see democracy in action first hand, but to also hear all of the key issues for their area debated.
“It’s also about engaging and listening to the local community in their own backyard so we can help boost the local economy and provide better infrastructure and services for them.
“As part of the budget, we’re investing $1.2 billion in Far North infrastructure and capital works, $1.5 billion on health, $66.5 million on education, $173 million for social housing, all supporting thousands of good jobs.”
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said she expected a positive week.
“I look forward to having Parliament in the Far North for the first time since I’ve been the Member for Cook,” she said.
“It’s a great opportunity for the government to highlight the great work being done in this part of the state and I am particularly looking forward to debating the Path to Treaty Bill.”