Katter calls for North Queensland statehood

Bob Katter is calling for North Queensland to be granted statehood, and self governing rights.

It comes as the combined populations of Townsville and Cairns for the first time grow larger than that of Tasmania, the Townsville Bulletin reports.

The member for Kennedy, an area which covers more than half a million kilometres, is larger than Spain and runs from the coast to the border, said the region "screams out for a separate state".

"I have long argued for (a separate state) north from Rockhampton," Katter said, adding that if self governing could not be achieved then the state could at least split into two different administrative regions.

"Administratively we could be separate, with each responsible for their own budget," he said.

His comments follow the latest ABS figures which show that Townsville and Cairns now have 3572 more people than Tasmania.

This is not the first time this notion has been put forward.

There have been calls for a northern economic zone for some time.

In September last year, Hugh Tobin from the Institute of Public Affairs told Australian Mining "a Northern Special Economic Zone, comprising Northern Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and Northern Queensland will allow Australia to make the most of our natural mineral wealth and will reduce some of the problems that exist for people living in these regions".

He went on to say that the introduction of an SEZ in Northern Australia has widespread public support. 

"Galaxy poll results released by the IPA in June [2011] indicate that 60% of Australians support low taxes to stimulate economic growth in the north."

The researcher that compiled the data, Rick Carr, said "rather than inane debates about the relative merits of Cairns versus Townsville, the issue should be more about having a united voice that gives us the recognition as a region that Tasmania gets as a state in places like Brisbane and Canberra".

The north of Queensland is minerals rich, and contains much of Australia's zinc, lead, and copper miners, with operations such as Xstrata's Mt Isa, Cloncurry, and Ernest Henry mines, as well as MMG Century's zinc mine.

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