Cities battle for G20 sideshow

Then-treasurer Peter Costello holds court at Melbourne's G20 meeting of the world's most important finance ministers in 2006.
Then-treasurer Peter Costello holds court at Melbourne's G20 meeting of the world's most important finance ministers in 2006.

Premier Campbell Newman may have endorsed Cairns as his choice to share in the spoils of the G20 summit by hosting a finance leaders' meeting, but the Gold Coast is not going down without a fight.

The announcement Brisbane would host the 2014 G20 summit stole the show yesterday, but a smaller battle is brewing over which Queensland regional city will host the finance ministers for a special pre-G20 meeting.

Gold Coast Tourism chief executive Martin Winter revealed the Gold Coast had put in a bid to host the G20 summit and were hoping for a consolation prize.

"Gold Coast tourism has been actively lobbying the federal government and had actively lobbied the federal government over the past few months about hosting events around the G20 on the Gold Coast," he said.

"We believe we have established a very strong business case and would hope this would stand up in good stead for attracting one of these satellite events."

Mr Winter said it was "not a big deal" the Gold Coast had lost out on hosting the G20 summit to Brisbane, but they still expected to benefit from the spoils.

"Given the capabilities of the Gold Coast compared with other regions in Queensland, we would expect to have a favourable outcome," he said.

In his only media interview yesterday, Mr Newman told Sky News he and Prime Minster Julia Gillard would rather the meeting of the G20 finance ministers take place further north.

"There are a number of potential options but one that the Prime Minister has raised, and I think is a very good suggestion, is that it should happen in Cairns," he said.

"Cairns and Port Douglas have suffered particularly in the last two or three years under the previous Labor state administration.

"We really need to give it a good boost and I know that that part of Queensland would again be a great venue for the finance ministers' part of the overall G20."

Cairns has been buoyed by the Premier's endorsement and Regional Council acting chief executive Peter Tabulo said the city would jump at any opportunity to be part of the G20 summit.

"We are actively seeking out opportunities," he said.

"Cairns's reputation as a conference and events location is growing, thanks to the implementation of our economic strategy, and we have been able to demonstrate that this week in hosting the International Coral Reef Symposium.

“We would also expect our natural attributes, including the proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, to be a potential drawcard and any pre or post-summit visitation would certainly be a boost to our region.”

This story Cities battle for G20 sideshow first appeared on Brisbane Times.