Smithfield tomorrow (Sep 27) will host the third Regional Community Forum for the Far North Queensland region for 2021, with local forum members, Ministers and Members of Parliament to discuss priorities and projects to continue the state’s economic recovery.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland’s strong health response has allowed the recovery to begin, with vaccinations the key to continuing along that path.
“To help us do that, the focus of the forums is to support local economic development ideas, and opportunities to further diversify local economies, using connections between regional people and their representatives in Government,” the Premier said.
“Almost two years on from the launch of our Regional Community Forums, Ministers, Members of Parliament and regional stakeholders will be in Smithfield tomorrow for the seventh forum for the Far North Queensland region.
“Alongside discussions and panel sessions, these forums have given members the opportunity to visit local businesses, bear witness to innovative practices in regional industries, and hear directly from inspirational individuals, empowering regional and remote communities.
“We have been encouraged by all that the forums have delivered, helping us to stay safe and grow economically despite COVID-19.”
Smithfield 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, Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs Meaghan Scanlon.
Minister Crawford will chair the forum with the Member for Cook Cynthia Lui.
“Since 2019, forums in Far North Queensland have sought to bring the arts, health and education sectors together, to produce new mental health and aspirational messages for the region’s youth,” the Premier said.
“And they have shone a greater spotlight on issues in regional areas, including Yarrabah Shire Council, Cassowary Coast Shire and Douglas Shire.
“I’m grateful for the energy, optimism and expertise that forum members bring to this program, and I look forward to the ideas and next steps identified in this seventh round of Regional Community Forums.”
Mr Crawford said he welcomed the opportunity to speak directly with passionate locals about their priorities and vision for the region.
“From Indigenous tourism to sustainable agriculture and renewable energy, the Far North will enjoy a new economic sunrise as we re-open and recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” he said.
“Through a challenging period, I thank all local forum members for their advice and invaluable contributions to benefit the local economy and liveability of the region.”
The forum will include a site visit to the newly reopened Tjapukai Cultural Park, showcasing traditional food and dancing, and featuring a presentation on plans for the facility.
Key agenda items of the forum include local transport projects, the development of the CleanCo Barron Gorge Hydro Power Station, and tourism and small business support.
Regional Community Forums will also be held in North-North West Queensland, Western Queensland, Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday, Central Queensland, Wide Bay-Burnett-Fraser Coast and 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.