MY PLAN FOR
If elected to the Senate again, my number one plan will be to push for a renewed focus on Northern Australia.
There have been many calls for a new North Queensland State but I believe there is a better and more cost effective way.
Over recent years the momentum that was generated around the release of the 2015 White Paper for Developing Northern Australia has lessened. The White Paper, that I was intimately involved in, has delivered much but it is time for the next stage.
My plan is to renew that focus on the North, reminding the rest of Australia that the North, with only 5 percent of Australia’s population, generates 55 percent of Australia’s export earnings.
- Stand-alone Department of Northern Australia based in the North
A new Department of Northern Australia will be created with a Cabinet-level Minister for Northern Australia (the Minister).
The Department of Northern Australia will be tasked with new policy initiatives, research and implementation of policies for the development in Northern Australia in the infrastructure, social and economic areas.
The Department of Northern Australia will also provide a focal point for interaction between the Commonwealth, States and Northern Australian local government authorities, and with community, Indigenous, economic development, social, cultural, sporting, business, health and education leaders in Northern Australia.
The Department of Northern Australia will also co-ordinate and provide secretariat functions for the Council of Northern Australia (see below).
The Department would be located in the North.
Funding for relocation across the forward estimates would be $10 million.
- The Council of Northern Australia
A Council of Northern Australia will be established which will consist of:
- The Minister.
- Mayors from local government authorities, including Indigenous authorities, across Northern Australia.
- Elected federal parliamentarians based in Northern Australia.
- All state parliamentarians from Northern Queensland and the north of Western Australia.
- Five representatives of the Northern Territory Assembly - three appointed by the Government and two by the Official Opposition.
The Council of North Australia will be chaired by the Minister and will advise the Minister on priorities, initiatives and implementation for Northern advancement, and will assist the Minister in lobbying other Ministers for expenditure to help the North.
It will be a focal point for Northerners and will act as a high-level conduit from Northern Australia to Canberra.
The Council of North Australia will meet at least 4 times a year, once each in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and twice in North Queensland, one of which meetings will involve Northern Australian business, social, indigenous, cultural, sporting, health, education and development-sector representatives.
Funding across the forward estimates would be $10 million.
- Return of wealth generated in the North, to the North
Implementation of a government program to ensure that a guaranteed proportion of the revenue generated in Northern Australia is returned to Northern Australia for the development of the North and the betterment of the people of the North and to ensure a standard of living equal to that enjoyed by Australians living in southern capital cities.
- How to achieve this
In a finely divided Senate that has become the norm for the Australian Parliament, each Senator’s vote is critical. I will use my vote, if elected, to ensure the implementation of my plan for Northern Australia.
Senator Ian Macdonald
The North’s only Senator