Townsville-City-from-MTQAdvance Cairns is heading a consortium of economic progress groups in North Queensland demanding State Gov­ernment infrastructure invest­ment be targeted towards regional areas.

Advance Cairns, Townsville Enterprise and Capricorn Ent­erprise are pushing for a Royalties for Regions policy in Queensland.

The scheme would result in state royalties being reinvested in regional Queensland on a per capita basis.

Advance Cairns chairman Trent Twomey said he would push for a meeting with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk within the next week.

With the policy in place, about $755 million – or 32 per cent of the State’s $2.35 billion royalties earnings – would be returned to regional Queensland in 2016-17.

That is seven times more than currently allocated to reg­ional Queensland under the Building Our Regions Infrastructure Fund, through which the State Government plans to make just $100 million – or about 4.3 per cent of its royalties earnings – available to reg­ional communities in 2016-17.

“We aren’t going after individual lollies or once-off sugar hits. We want to have a conversation with both sides of politics adopting a fairer, more equitable distribution of the royalties collected in regional Queensland,” Mr Twomey said.

“Our priorities could be anywhere from stadiums in Cairns and Townsville, ring roads in Cairns and Townsville, museums, dams and water treatment – the list is endless.

“We want the state taxes collected in the regions to flow back to the regions.

“The concept isn’t just good for Cairns and North Queensland, it’s good for Toowoomba, it’s good for Charleville and Mount Isa. It’s good for all reg­ional communities.”

Mr Twomey said a Royalties for Regions program had been implemented in Western Australia.

“It’s a sensible request. Will there need to be changes to the flow of money? Yes,” he said.

“We’re talking about cultural infrastructure, sporting infrastructure – all the things that make up a thriving modern economy.”

Representatives from the three peak bodies will head to Brisbane later this month to argue their case with the Premier.

The proposal has already been backed by Katter’s Australian Party MPs Shane Knuth and Rob Katter.

Mr Knuth said regional inf­rastructure plans could not continue to be funnelled into the southeast corner. To read more click here.

The Developing Northern Australia Conference Above the Line – unleashing the north’s potential will be held on 20-22 June 2016 at Darwin Convention Centre.

The Conference continues the dialogue started in 2015 following the release of the Australian Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. To register your attendance at the conference CLICK HERE.  Early bird registrations close 6 May 2016, so be quick to receive a discounted rate.