S IT time to turn the Beef Capital into the State Capital?
That’s the question Rockhampton LNP Senator Matt Canavan posed yesterday as he renewed a call for Australia to consider new states which could better represent the population.
Mr Canavan said creating a new state in Queensland’s north could see the area and its population given greater representation at a national level.
It was an issue he also raised during his first day as a Senator last year.
“I think government closer to the people is the best form of government,” he said.
“A state of North Queensland would help us to be masters of our own destiny.”
Mr Canavan said currently, the leaders meeting for each Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting was based in metropolitan areas.
He said a regional-based government would help give the people of those electorates a louder voice when it came to national issues.
“This is about staying together as a country, it’s not about separating,” Mr Canavan said.
Mr Canavan said there was already provision to create new states in the constitution.
While Mr Canavan said there were people who may reject the idea of more bureaucracy, he said it was important to start a discussion about the possibility of new states.
The idea of creating new states is not a new one, particularly in Central Queensland.
According to a history of Rockhampton and surrounds written by Lorna McDonald, the city’s historic Kenmore House, now part of the Mater Hospital complex, was to be Government House for a proposed Central Queensland colony in the 1890s.
In 1928 the longing to break from southern Queensland was still evident with a letter to The Morning Bulletin stating: “The time must come when the district would be separated from the Brisbane octopus.”
The move was once again supported in 1958, when almost 30,000 people signed a petition for a referendum to form a new Central Queensland state.