Split state idea for Queensland

Independent MP Bob Katter.
Independent MP Bob Katter. Stefan Posties, Brisbane Times

MAYORS from Queensland's north have again raised a proposal to split the state, claiming the bounty from the north's resources is being spent in the populous south-east corner.

Maverick MP Bob Katter, the independent Member for Kennedy, reignited the century-old debate, calling for a referendum on the issue at the 2012 council elections.

‘‘We’ve had a gutful of the blood-sucking establishment of the south,’’ maverick MP Bob Katter told

‘‘We have been economically massacred in the north ... it’s the tyranny of the majority being in south-east Queensland - the winner takes all."

The dividing line could be drawn on the 22nd parallel, between Sarina and Rockhampton, connecting straight across to the Northern Territory border.

But Deputy Premier Paul Lucas on Tuesday laughed off the idea, saying rivalry between the north's major population centres would make it unworkable.

"If you had a separate state of North Queensland, Townsville and Cairns couldn't agree on where the capital was and Mount Isa would still be saying it wasn't getting any money spent on it," he told reporters in Cairns.

He said the proposal would actually result in fewer resources and infrastructure across the sparsely populated region.

"It is pretty hard to see how a state that would have the same population as Tasmania ... [but] many, many times larger [in area] ... could afford a half-a-billion-dollar hospital in Cairns," he said.

"Tasmania only exists because it gets federal government handouts all the time."

Mr Lucas said North Queenslanders were "far better off" under the status quo and enjoyed significant political power.

"You've only got to speak to people in regions in other states to understand the political clout that happens in a regionalised state like Queensland," he said.

Cairns mayor Val Schier also dismissed the idea as unrealistic and suggested it would not be popular with rugby league fans.

"What would happen to State of Origin games? NSW might eventually gain superiority and that would be a disaster," she said.

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