Aerial View of Townsville | NQ FirstA NEW political party, North Queensland First, has been unveiled in Townsville by Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan, aimed at delivering a fair go for North Queenslanders and Statehood for the North.

Less than 24 hours before State Parliament sits in the city for the first time in 17 years and just the second time since Queensland broke away from New South Wales, Mr Costigan revealed he would sit in the Legislative Assembly as the Parliamentary Leader of North Queensland First (NQF) after documentation was lodged with electoral officials last Friday.

Mr Costigan, who entered State Parliament in 2012, was previously a member of the Liberal National Party but since February this year, has been regional Queensland’s only Independent MP after his controversial expulsion by the LNP, leaving the Opposition with just one MP north of Bundaberg.

“Today marks the start of a new chapter in the unpredictable world that is Queensland politics but more importantly, it’s an opportunity for the people of North Queensland who’ve had enough of the major parties and their neglect of the North over many, many years,” said Mr Costigan, a proud fifth generation North Queenslander whose great-great-grandfather, Irish-born Patrick Costigan, came to Mackay in 1865 as the town’s first policeman.

“You won’t get a more passionate North Queenslander than myself and hence I see myself as someone who can provide real leadership in our communities – whether they be in Central Queensland, North Queensland or Far North Queensland. Suffice to say, I want a fair go for people in those communities – no matter who they are and where they are and yes, ultimately, I want Statehood for North Queensland….simple as that.”

Mr Costigan, a familiar face for North Queenslanders in the 1990s when he read the nightly TV news, as well as calling the Cowboys’ home games, said NQ First would quickly become a political force.

“Electoral Commission Queensland now has the necessary paperwork in relation to having the party formally registered. Naturally, I will respect the process as the ECQ works through that but in the meantime, I will continue to do my job – standing up for the people of Whitsunday and more broadly, the people of North Queensland in my new position as the Leader of North Queensland First, which as the name suggests, puts the North first.

“We’ll be looking for talented, community-minded people to join me in Parliament, people from all walks of life, with a view to contesting up to 18 seats at the next State Election – representing regional, rural and remote communities from Calliope to the Cape,” he concluded.