Palaszczuk hears MPs’ ‘arm-twisting’ demands

 

AN AWKWARD moment unfolded during a heavily scripted media scrum when the Far North's four MPs were asked to name one key project they wanted to twist Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's arm over.

The State Government's full Cabinet is in Cairns for three days of meetings and fact-finding missions about an economy on its knees.

Ms Palaszczuk led a media conference at the Reef Fleet Terminal this morning to announce $6.5 million in funding for Far North tourism projects.

At the conclusion, the Cairns Post asked each of the Premier's lieutenants in the region to outline the single most pressing project they would be pushing for over the coming days.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (front) with (from left) Cairns MP Michael Healy, Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen, TTNQ chairwoman Wendy Morris, Barron River MP Craig Crawford, Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt, Tourism Minister Kate Jones and Cook MP Cynthia Lui during a Community Cabinet visit to Cairns. PICTURE: CHRIS CALCINO
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (front) with (from left) Cairns MP Michael Healy, Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen, TTNQ chairwoman Wendy Morris, Barron River MP Craig Crawford, Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt, Tourism Minister Kate Jones and Cook MP Cynthia Lui during a Community Cabinet visit to Cairns. PICTURE: CHRIS CALCINO

 

"You sure can (ask) but they're always in my ear," Ms Palaszczuk assured the crowd.

Cairns MP Michael Healy was first up, giving the others a chance to gather their thoughts.

"Obviously our university hospital is a hot topic," he said.

"In addition to that, we have a very healthy marine precinct that needs significant future investment, (also) in the private sector.

"I know that we're looking at that and I hope to see some announcements for road infrastructure.

"So broadly, it's jobs, the granular is some of the detail that's being advanced by a lot of people in the community that I and my colleagues talk to on a daily basis."

Cook MP Cynthia Lui also found it difficult to hone it down to a single project.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (right) meets Gold Coast tourists Jan Causer and Lynn Messer during the State Government's Cabinet visit to Cairns. PICTURE: CHRIS CALCINO
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (right) meets Gold Coast tourists Jan Causer and Lynn Messer during the State Government's Cabinet visit to Cairns. PICTURE: CHRIS CALCINO

"Cook is a huge electorate and I think it would be crazy for me to just name one thing," she said.

"But I think support for industries … it is about keeping jobs in communities.

"I will be looking at those job-creating opportunities to support so that we are getting through these challenging times together.

"Right now it's about recovering the economy and that's what I'd be paying close attention to."

Barron River MP Craig Crawford said he would keep some of his key issues up his sleeve for later in the election campaign.

The Premier will inspect progress on the Smithfield bypass this afternoon. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
The Premier will inspect progress on the Smithfield bypass this afternoon. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"If there's something I want to talk to Cabinet over the next couple of days about, I think it would be around the Cairns Hospital and further work in that space," he said.

"I've got a long list, a lot of them are roads, but I'm also mindful that there's a campaign starting in about five or so weeks - so I'm going to keep my powder dry."

Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt said he would not be so backward in coming forward.

"It's definitely a unity ticket when it comes to the university hospital," he said.

"Far North Queensland is bigger than Cairns but the Cairns Hospital services the entire of Far North Queensland.

"So it's something that all of the members up here are very, very passionate about."

Mr Pitt said he was also backing measures to accelerate housing construction in the southern growth corridor of Cairns.

"We've done some great work with developers, and also council, in trying to make applications to the Building Acceleration Fund.

"That's what you really get when you have both state and federal (governments) with a really exciting package right now.

"It's never been a better time to buy a house.

"We just want to make sure there's never been a better time to construct a house and make sure we get the jobs that go along with that."

Originally published as Palaszczuk hears MPs' 'arm-twisting' demands



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