STATE QUESTION: Bill Bates has taken his message on the road to help drum up interest and support for his petition to hold a referendum on forming a new state.
STATE QUESTION: Bill Bates has taken his message on the road to help drum up interest and support for his petition to hold a referendum on forming a new state. Mike Richards GLA251017BILL

Should Queensland be split into two states?

BILL Bates is so sick of regional Queensland missing out he wants to form a new state.

The idea of splitting the state in two is not new, with the idea of north Queensland breaking away often discussed.

However, Mr Bates wants a new state from just north of Gympie, including Gladstone, to be formed.

The 65-year-old has been coming to Queensland for holidays for more than 10 years. After retiring, he moved to Cairns about four years ago.

"As a retiree you have more time to read the paper and listen to talkback radio," he said.

"One of the most common themes coming through is people complaining about effects of legislation coming out of Brisbane and how it impacts their livelihood."

Mr Bates was in Gladstone yesterday spreading the word about his petition.

He has already toured around Cairns and the surrounding areas.

"The idea of the trailer is to try and catch people's attention," Mr Bates said.

"The people in the street have been enthusiastic."

However, he said it had been difficult to get organisations to support the unique idea.

The petition is not specifically to establish a new state, it's to hold a referendum to let people make a decision.

As of yesterday, Mr Bates had 358 signatures.

He needs 10,000 for the issue to be debated in Queensland Parliament.

Mr Bates said the catalyst for his decision to submit the petition was the announcement the parliament was increasing from 89 to 93 seats with the four additional seats in southeast Queensland.

He said this served to "further diminish regional Queensland's influence".

"Now 75 per cent of the members of the Queensland Parliament are beholden to the interests of voters who have no affinity with regional Queensland," Mr Bates said.

Asked if he thought there was any realistic chance this would happen, Mr Bates said a referendum in 1967, to create a separate state in New South Wales showed it was actually possible.

The vote was close, with 54 per cent voting no.

People can sign the petition online, it closes on December 15.



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