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Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Page: 1252

Mr EWEN JONES (9:35 AM) —I rise to speak on Townsville’s recovery from the cyclone and our readiness to receive visitors and tourists. My city of Townsville is still open for business. In fact, we never closed. I want to tell you that the days currently are hot and the nights are balmy, which is code for hot. But the barra are biting and the mud crabs are just about jumping into your tinnie. My city extends an invitation to any and all Australians to visit us for a short while and sample one of the truly great regional centres of Australia.

Hop on a Kookaburra Tours bus with Tony O’Connor and have a really great bloke show you around the region. You can ask him anything and he will answer. It may not always be the truth, but he will answer with a smile on his face and a wink of his eye. Come and stay at any of our fine hotels and motels. If you want something a little more intimate, get a room at Classique Bed and Breakfast on the city fringe. The food there is to die for and the hosts are so friendly you will want them to adopt you.

Go to Reef HQ and see the work being done with our Turtle Hospital, where research meets entertainment. The Museum of Tropical Queensland is a must if you have children. Go and dive at the Yongala wreck, one of the truly great dives in the world. It is coming up to 100 years since the ship sank and they are planning a series of events to mark that occasion.

Go out to Mungalla Aboriginal Tours just outside Ingham for a wonderful walk through the Dreamtime, and mix with people who not only own the property but are part of the land. Come for a weekend and watch the Cowboys as we light up the NRL this year. Yes, it will be our year this year! Come by plane or car or motorhome—you will have a great time. Go out to the reef on a Sunferry, or catch the Sunferry across to Magnetic Island. It is truly a beautiful place. With its beaches and bays and restaurants and bars, you are guaranteed to have a great time.

One thing, though, when you are on Maggie and you hop off the ferry and cross the hill towards Geoffrey Bay, be careful as you walk over the hill because it is exceedingly dangerous. The verges and shoulders are narrow and blind for the drivers. You see, there was supposed to be a beautiful walk around the front of these hills to link the bays and the beaches. It was going to cost only $4.5 million and both major parties made that promise. It would be one of the great walks in Australia as it would link not only the bays and beaches but also the walks through the world natural heritage parks. Unfortunately, our government has seen fit not to stick with that promise. But do not let this government’s callous disregard for election promises put you off. Get out to the island and have a great unwind. It is a great place and we will welcome you there with open arms. Townsville is open for business.