Cairns and Townsville growth overtakes Tasmania - let's take our fair share of funding
NEW figures which show the joint population of Cairns and Townsville overtaking Tasmania are to be used to demand a greater share of state and federal funds and resources.
The figures show the greater regional populations of both cities is 514,046, ahead of Tasmania’s 510,519.
Business leaders say it’s time to wield the big stick in Brisbane and Canberra to lobby for more government capital and infrastructure, as well as a bigger say.
Analysis of the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures by researcher Rick Carr has found the joint population is 3527 more than Australia’s smallest state.
The Herron Todd White research director said previously the populations of both cities were 505,739 and Tasmania was 507,281.
"Rather than inane debates about the relative merits of Cairns versus Townsville the issue should be more about having a united voice that gives us the recognition as a region that Tasmania gets as a state in places like Brisbane and Canberra," Mr Carr said.
Cairns Chamber of Commerce president Anthony Mirotsos said the new statistics "certainly put weight to the lobbying power we should command as a region."
"We need to stand together and demand our priorities be delivered," he said.
Mr Mirotsos said a federal election due next year would be the time to expect commitments in investment for the region and appropriate policy changes for the benefit of both cities.
"However, we need to commence working on lobbying now," he said.
Kennedy MP Bob Katter said the news "screams out for a separate state".
"I have long argued for (a separate state) north from Rockhampton," Mr Katter said.
He said if statehood could not be achieved in the short term, a more realistic goal would be to have separate budgets for the north and south of Queensland.
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Signs: Cairns Chamber of Commerce president Anthony Mirotsos said the new population statistics “certainly put weight to the lobbying power we should command as a region.”