Far North MPs Desley Boyle, Steve Wettenhall, Curtis Pitt and Jason O’Brien have today presented a proposal to Premier Anna Bligh, to turn around high unemployment in the region as a result of the Global Financial Crisis.

The delegation outlined for the Premier the New Deal proposal developed by Advance Cairns, the Chamber of Commerce, and Tourism Tropical North Queensland.

“The people of the Cairns Region are rightfully concerned about soaring unemployment and impact it is having on their region,” Ms Bligh said.

“This is not an issue the government can solve on its own, and I commend the Far North MPs for working with their local community to come up with a way forward.”

The MPs briefed the Premier on a range of strategies which have been developed by the proponents for the ‘New Deal’ plan for relief, recovery and reform.

The four members also presented a suite of measures including short-term stimulus options, working with the private sector to bring forward planned infrastructure projects, and long-term projects such as the development of a new Cairns Performing Arts Centre and Cultural Precinct.

“A new Performing Arts Centre would clearly be a key economic driver for the region in the future, but short term infrastructure projects could address the broader needs of the region sooner,” Ms Bligh said.

“Cairns has a great reputation not just as a tourism destination, but also a great place for business conferences and delegations.

“Having listened to the ideas put forward in today’s meeting, I have agreed to meet with the Mayor of Cairns Regional Council, Val Schier to discuss a business plan for the proposed new Performing Arts Centre.

“In particular, I am keen to see what progress has been made on the business case for the complex, to which the Queensland Government has provided $60,000.”

The Treasurer Andrew Fraser will also travel to Cairns next week to meet with proponents of the New Deal Plan.

“My Government will be ready to consider how we can work with all other levels of government to deliver solutions for the Cairns economy and the local community.”