LNP calls for ministry dedicated to Northern Australia
QUEENSLAND'S Liberal National Party has urged a parliamentary committee inquiry on northern Australia to create a federal ministerial portfolio to oversee development in the north.
A hearing was held in Brisbane of the committee examining potential policies for developing the north, including new dams, mines, agriculture and tourism opportunities.
Among those speaking to the committee on Friday was the LNP's northern development policy committee chairwoman Robyn Quick.
Presenting the official policy of the LNP, Ms Quick told the committee there was "vast potential" in the north, but it would need a "champion" to push for it in the Abbott government.
Among the opportunities, she said, were potential to harness the extensive rainfall across the Gulf Savannah for agriculture development, expand fishing tourism and even new manufacturers.
A second LNP representative told the committee a minister or specific portfolio should be created to help drive the northern agenda and help bring city residents along with the plan.
Committee member Senator Ian MacDonald, a former shadow minister for northern Australia, congratulated Ms Quick on her submission, noting it was a "very well constructed document".
The Senator, who was passed over for a frontbench spot in Prime Minister Tony Abbott's Cabinet, said he hoped Mr Abbott would be the "principal cheerleader" for the north.