The NQ State Alliance has issued a handbook to generation discussion on the issues around creating a new state of North Queensland.
While neither Labor nor the LNP will currently support a referendum to create a new state it has support from the KAP and Jason Costigan's new North Queensland First party and a recent Brisbane media poll asking if Queensland should be split in two showed 81 percent of the 1132 voters answered 'yes'.
During state parliament in Townsville last week, Mr Costigan used question time to ask the Premier if she would support a referendum in the north, but she refused to be drawn.
There are at least two groups lobbying to get NQ statehood on the agenda, Boot Brisbane and NQ State Alliance.
The Townsville-based NQ State Alliance is an incorporated association for the creation of a separate North Queensland state and it says it wants to strengthen Australia's competitive federalism and ensuring a fair go for north Queenslanders.
Their new 30-page handbook (available online) said the debate about whether North and Central Queensland should be separate states goes back to the pre-Federation days of the 1890s.
"To help the debate, we have put this handbook together with some of the compelling issues highlighted so that around the kitchen table or the BBQ the issues can be raised and discussed," the NQ State Alliance said.
"And then if we in the North are given the chance to vote on the issue, we can make an informed decision."
The handbook is divided into three parts. the first looking at why a new state is needed, the second on how it might happen, and the third on key questions such where the border might be and how the parliament might look.
The handbook says the North (above the Tropic of Capricorn) is not fairly represented in parliaments with only 17 of the 93 seats in Queensland's unicameral parliament and only two of Queensland's 12 senators in the federal parliament.
It said Queensland's mining royalties are recovered disproportionately from regional areas while the North was also hit by "indirect taxation" because of higher home and contents insurance premiums which leads to higher GST and state duties.
The handbook notes that state rely on Commonwealth funding through two main channels, GST and grants under Section 96 of the constitution, and both are an issue for NQ.
A equalisation weighting determines how GST is distributed between states but does not apply within states, it says.
"If NQ became the seventh state we would get our own allocation of GST and we would make the decisions on how it is spent," the NQ state alliance said.
The S96 grants were put in the constitution to assist states with debt but are open to political lobbying, and NQ suffers from limited Senate representation.
The Alliance said the constitution allows for the creation of a new state from an existing one "but only with the consent of the parliament thereof".
E-petitions called on the then LNP government (2013) and now Labor government (2018) to support a referendum into statehood but neither government would support it.
The Alliance said the governments miss the point which is about choice, rather than about a proposal.
It noted that in 1967 Northern NSW narrowly voted down a referendum proposal for a new state of New England by 198,812 votes to 168,103.
Only the people in the proposed new state voted and it was lost in Newcastle, the biggest population centre, because of concerns to water supply.
The lessons say the Alliance is that the question must be simple "(eg do you support a new state in North Queensland?), the vote should only be for the people of the region, and issues of water supply schemes and control of rivers needs to be sorted out in advance.
The Alliance says pathway forward for North Queensland is to lobby the two major parties ahead of the next state election in October 2020.
"As it was in New South Wales for New England, both parties need to commit to establishing an independent Commission to inquire and report on the area in the north of the state suitable for self-government," they said.
"Once the Commission is established, the criteria for making that assessment can be identified and all sides of the debate can have their say."
The handbook addresses some thorny questions including where the border should be, which it admits is a complex issue.
Historically there were suggestions it should be on the 22nd parallel (just south of Sarina) but the handbook prefers to draw the line on the five seats north of the Tropic of Capricorn with a population of 950,000 - almost double that of Tasmania.
But Tasmania, a founding state, has 12 seats in the Senate and the question is should North Queensland have an equal number.
"We suggest 12 but certainly no less than six".
The Alliance also has an answer to those who say a new state simply means more politicians.
"A new state doesn't mean more government," they said.
"It means better government once the new state is formed."
Other interesting proposals in the document include possible recognition for First Nations people and removing duplication between state and local government bodies.
Oh and as for State of Origin, no change for 20 years but after that: "it is possible NQ would form its own team - and then beat NSW and Queensland".
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