A RARE sitting of state parliament in North Queensland will provide a platform for those pushing for the north to become a separate state.
Townsville is set to be ground zero for political debate next month, when the North Queensland Regional Parliament is held at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre from Tuesday September, 3 to Thursday September, 5.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was important that people in regional Queensland got the opportunity to see our democratic process in person.
"Local issues will be front and centre and the people of the region - including school children - will have the benefit of seeing their parliament in action," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"But what I am looking forward to most is showing off this beautiful part of Queensland and talking up its attractions for tourists and investors."
Ms Palaszczuk said ministers and MPs would participate in events with community groups and volunteers while in the North and meet with regional mayors, indigenous business and community leaders and school groups.
But it will not all be smooth sailing for the elected representatives, who will be met by passionate northerners who believe a separate state would provide greater prosperity for the region than what is currently being provided by those governing from the South East.
Katter's Australian Party 2019 federal election candidates Nanette Radeck (Herbert) and Brendan Bunyan (Dawson) are organising the rally to coincide with the first sitting day. It will be held outside the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre from 11.30am on Tuesday, September 3.
Confirmed speakers include Burdekin canegrower Alan Parker and Boot Brisbane coordinator Bill Bates.
KAP's Traeger MP Robbie Katter and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto will also speak, as will Federal Dawson MP George Christensen, Independent Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan and Richmond Mayor John Wharton.
Ms Palaszczuk sang Townsville's praises ahead of the visit, dubbing it an 'ever-evolving' coastal city of progress and opportunity.
"From the TAFE upgrade to the Port expansion and the North Queensland Stadium project, my Government is backing Townsville and North Queensland jobs and industry," she said.
"As part of our 2019-20 State Budget, we're investing $930.7 million in Townsville infrastructure and capital works.
"We're spending $225 million to address the city's long-term water security needs and we've committed $1 billion to the Townsville Hospital and Health Service, to better support the region's health and wellbeing into the future.
"We can't wait to share the good news with the people of Townsville when parliament heads north in just under two weeks' time."
The Queensland Parliament conducted its first sitting outside of Brisbane in Townsville in 2002.
Since then, regional sittings have been held in Rockhampton in 2005, Cairns in 2008 and Mackay in 2011, with the upcoming trip to Townsville being the fifth regional visit.
Last time parliament sat in Townsville, about 8400 people visited with just over 1000 people attending an evening Question Time session, which at the time was a record public gallery attendance for a session of Australian parliament.