Cairns in frame to co-host 2014 G20 summit
CAIRNS is the frontrunner to share in Brisbane's huge G20 coup, with political heavyweights backing the Far North to play co-host when the summit comes to Queensland.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced yesterday that Brisbane would host the 2014 summit, which brings together political leaders and heads of international organisations.
Ms Gillard said a regional Queensland city would host the finance ministers’ component of the summit, and Premier Campbell Newman wants that city to be Cairns.
"There are a number of potential options but one that the Prime Minister has raised, and I think is a very good suggestion, is that it should happen in Cairns," Mr Newman said after his talks with Ms Gillard.
"Cairns and Port Douglas have suffered particularly in the last two or three years under the previous Labor state administration.
"We really need to give it a good boost and I know that part of Queensland would again be a great venue for the finance ministers’ part of the overall G20."An audit of a previous G20 leaders’ summit held in Seoul found South Korea reaped economic benefits of about
$20 billion including new infrastructure and global tourism promotion.
If Cairns is chosen to hold the finance talks, the city will host 25 finance ministers from the G20 nations and other invited countries, as well as thousands of delegates and media.
Ms Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan were tight-lipped when asked whether Cairns would be named as host for the finance ministers’ meeting yesterday, but said an announcement would be made in the coming months.
"Well look, we’re not in a position to announce the city yet," Ms Gillard said.
"Some work has to be done but there are a number of places across Queensland that can be considered."
Mr Swan will be in Cairns next week for an economic roundtable with community leaders – his second visit to Cairns this year.
Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the recent DestinationQ tourism forum and the current coral reef symposium proved the Far North was worthy of hosting rights.
"We’ve got two perfect cities," Mr Entsch said, referring to Cairns and Port Douglas.
"We’ve got ample quality accommodation, an international airport that they can come and go from, and a good range of venues.
"And don’t forget the range of experiences they can have when they get here."
He said local political leaders needed to "sing from the same hymn book" to convince the Commonwealth.
"The fact that the Premier already recognised the value of being able to get events in Cairns, I think we’re in for a very, very good result for Cairns."
Ms Gillard’s decision to hand Brisbane the hosting rights to the G20 leaders’ summit has ignited an interstate war of words.
The NSW and Victorian governments claimed Sydney and Melbourne should have won the rights, but Queensland Premier Campbell Newman rubbed salt into the wound.
"We’ve beaten them (NSW) seven times in a row in the State of Origin (rugby league series) and now we’ve secured the G20 2014 leaders meeting from our southern neighbours," he said.
Mr Newman, an LNP premier, put partisanship aside in saying all Queenslanders should appreciate the federal Labor leader’s decision.
However his interstate colleagues took a shot at federal Labor.
NSW cabinet minister Brad Hazzard, whose government offered the Sydney Opera House to host the summit, said Ms Gillard had made a political move to reclaim support for her party in Queensland.
Victoria’s Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the G20 should be in Melbourne.
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Spotlight on the North: Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced Brisbane will host the G20 summit in 2014 and there is strong support for a meeting of finance ministers to be held in Cairns.