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    Government sets up base in Cairns, brings bag of pre-election goodies


    If the volume of announcements and funding pledges made on the first day of the Palaszczuk Government's week-long residency in Cairns is anything to go by, we should expect a state election very, very soon.

    Money has flowed for local ambulance services, a biorefinery near Mareeba and roads in Cape York, on top of efforts to spruik the Back to Work jobs program and the confirmation of Labor's candidate for Cook Cynthia Lui.

    And all of that activity happened before midday today.

    Winning back the seats of Cairns and Cook is crucial to Labor's bid to retain government at the next election following the defection of Rob Pyne and the ousting of Billy Gordon.


    But a major re-election sweetener hasn't been announced just yet, with Barron River MP Craig Crawford hoping his chances at the ballot box will be bolstered with some good news on the Smithfield Bypass project.

    Details of today's announcements include:

    • Cairns Ambulance Station and Operations Centre will undergo a $5.6 million redevelopment to meet growing demand for ambulance services in TNQ;
    • Funding for a feasibility study into a $60 million biorefinery near Mareeba by MSF Sugar;
    • Joint announcement with the Federal Government that construction on the $13.4 million Laura Racecourse to Little Laura road sealing project is due to start this week;
    • More than 1,250 jobs delivered in Far North Queensland in the first 12 months of the government's Back to Work jobs program

    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her ministers were also on hand to celebrate the preselection of 40-year-old social worker Cynthia Lui in the seat of Cook.

    Ms Lui will take on the LNP's candidate and former Cook Shire Council deputy mayor Penny Johnson. Mr Gordon is yet to reveal if he will run for re-election.

    Tomorrow night, the Premier will host a town hall-style meeting at Brother's Leagues Club from 7:30pm.

    "This is an opportunity for Ministers and I to hear directly from the community on local issues," the Premier said.