The regions of north and north west Queensland and indeed, the whole of regional northern Australia, have suffered immeasurably from ineffective political representation over a long period of time.
Electorates across this region have lacked real political clout when it comes to ensuring that projects of real significance or long term benefits to the region have come to fruition.
This has highlighted the fact that whole-of-region economic development opportunities have been overlooked on so many levels.
As the Agricultural White Paper sits on a shelf in Canberra gathering dust, economic development across northern Australia withers on the vine.
The silence emanating from the portfolio of Northern Australian Development is deafening. This inaction has eroded the confidence levels of would-be investors on a grand scale with projects of national and state significance failing to emerge at a time when much was promised and little has been delivered.
Road, rail and water infrastructure projects are key to laying a platform as well as a pathway for growth and sustainability of regional areas.
It is vitally important and blatantly obvious that the future of economic development is in the hands of all stakeholders who live and work across the region, not the politicians.
Ineffective political representation has constricted the focus of both state and federal governments and as a result revenue produced by industries across the north have been consumed by a focus on the southern portion of our state.
Leaders from industries such as cattle, mining, fishing, transport, tourism, as well as local government have a great opportunity right at this moment to remedy the effects of poor and ineffectual representation at both state and federal levels.
I would suggest that a summit bringing the above-mentioned leaders together could be a starting point to reinvigorate a discussion on the whole of regions future.
This would send a clear message to elected members at the dissatisfaction of substandard representation.
Erratic commentary and empty rhetoric does not meet the expectations of the people, the industries and businesses of the region.
Nor does it support what a sustainable future should look like to those who live in rural and regional north and north west Queensland.
A summit on this level would bring the power of a collective voice that is so pivotal to ensure that a sustainable economic development future across the region is obtained.
From a political perspective the approach to this has clearly failed and it time to take a different course of action.
I believe that the destiny of economic development is in the hands of those who want to achieve it, not in the hands of politicians.
Leadership at this level is far more effective and brings greater credence and credibility to the future development of agriculture, tourism and mining and the services that are required to support such development.
The levels of frustration with the political landscape on a national basis is just as prominent across the heartland of the production areas of regional Queensland.
Don’t you think it is time to seize this opportunity?
- Barry Hughes, Gulf Cattleman's Association