Next chapter of community forums in Far North Queensland

Premier and Minister for the Olympics The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Ministers and MPs will meet tomorrow with a group of committed Far North Queensland locals in Cairns, as part of a new round of Regional Community Forums.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said new membership for the forums in 2022 would continue the diversity of experience, ideas and interests in regional Queensland.

“Listening to communities is the hallmark of good government, and we work best when we work together,” the Premier said.

“Since 2019, our Regional Community Forums have helped to strengthen partnerships in rural and regional areas, collaborating on local solutions and local innovations for local issues.

“In Far North Queensland, forum members have expertise in small business, eco-tourism, entertainment, indigenous partnerships, health, and local Government.

“I welcome all new and returning members, and look forward to hearing about priorities and actions from the first round of forums for 2022.”

Cairns will host Far North Queensland forum members, with Minister for Seniors and Disability Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford and Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport and Minister Assisting the Premier on Olympics and Paralympics Sport and Engagement Stirling Hinchliffe.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy, Member for Cook Cynthia Lui and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt will co-chair the forum.

Today’s agenda will recap and confirm areas of interest, and begin the development of a new region-specific action plan, guided by the priorities of forum members.

There will also be a session on the recent Queensland Workforce Summit.

Mr Healy said that session would look at training and employment programs in the region.

“Far North Queensland forums have identified skills development, training and education as priority areas, to help grow our local economy,” Mr Healy said.

“Addressing labour shortages is major issue in the Far North, and today’s session will help ensure the people of this region understand the available training pathways, and discuss initiatives to address shortages.”

Ms Lui said forum members had also worked together to respond to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve heard from tourism operators and other local businesses about the difficulties they’ve faced, and the ways in which COVID-19 has forced them to adapt and innovate,” Ms Lui said.

“Forum members have also shed light on issues in outer regional areas and thanks to their advocacy, there has been an increase in support for local Governments and businesses in a very challenging time.”

Mr Pitt said new membership would allow the forum program to continue to evolve.

“In Far North Queensland, we’ve seen some great outcomes from the forums to date, increasing engagement with Local Government and Queensland Government departments,” Mr Pitt said.

“It’s essential the Far North Queensland forum continues to reflect the community it serves and that’s why I’m pleased to welcome our new forum members, who are so eager to play a bigger role in shaping the future of this region.”

Regional Community Forums will also be held tomorrow in Townsville (North-North West Queensland), Mackay (Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday), Longreach (Western Queensland), Rockhampton (Central Queensland), Bundaberg (Wide Bay-Burnett-Fraser Coast) and Toowoomba (Darling Downs-South West Queensland).

The Regional Community Forums are part of the Queensland Government’s Advancing Queensland’s Regions strategy, supported by the Office for Rural and Regional Queensland.

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