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Mayors slam push for north Qld split

AAP logoAAP 15/09/2016 Melissa Grant and Jamie McKinnell

The mayors of north Queensland's two biggest cities have slammed the latest push to split the Sunshine State in two.

Katter's Australian Party (KAP) will move a motion in the Queensland parliament calling for the divide, suggesting the border be decided by an independent commission.

But the party's campaign for creating a new "North Queensland" state has been condemned by Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill and her Cairns counterpart Bob Manning, who both say they weren't even consulted.

Ms Hill said dividing the state was too serious an issue just to "drop in parliament" and needed to be seriously debated.

"To even bring this to government you think they would at least open conversation with mayors to seek our feedback," she told AAP.

"To some people in the north this is an important topic to debate, not just for people to sit in parliament and say 'yay' or 'nay'."

Mr Manning said he didn't support the move "one bit".

"I don't think the default position when you don't get your own way is just to create a new state," he told AAP.

"If we have got problems ... let's address the issues."

North Queensland-based crossbench MPs leading the reignited push to divide the state say they are fed up with "one size fits all" policies from the southeast.

KAP leader Rob Katter said Labor's failed tree-clearing legislation was an example of how regional areas were disadvantaged by a blanket approach.

"I think we're all very passionate Queenslanders and we want to see this state thrive," he said.

"Unfortunately, despite the best intentions of our governments who really want to help in northern areas, most of the policy that comes out is a one size fits all."

Fellow KAP MP Shane Knuth conceded it wasn't a new idea but the north had always felt securing infrastructure was an uphill battle.

He said in previous debates the town of Sarina, south of Mackay, emerged as a likely boundary, although residents of Rockhampton also wanted to be included.

But Rockhampton-based Police Minister Bill Byrne said Queensland would be better off economically as one state.

"The reality is the state needs to stay together to ensure our collective economic wellbeing," he said.

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said splitting the state into two would prove costly and she didn't agree with the move.

"I just think that the cost of it would be huge, particularly if you have to build another parliament, and have more MPs and another premier," the federal member told AAP.

Independent Cairns MP Rob Pyne has supported the push for a split, citing strong north Queensland representation on the crossbench.

"The concern is that after the election, one of the big parties based in Brisbane gets control of the parliament and the issue's not advanced," Mr Pyne said.

The motion would merely signify the parliament's agreeance, not trigger any change, but Mr Katter said if successful it would motivate the party to take further action.

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