G20 decision ignites interstate rivalry

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s decision to hand Brisbane the hosting rights to the G20 leaders’ summit in 2014 has ignited an interstate war of words.


Ms Gillard declared Brisbane a “world-class city” as she announced on Wednesday it would host the leaders of the United States, Britain, Russia, China and other major economies at a cost of more than $370 million.

As the NSW and Victorian governments claimed Sydney and Melbourne should have won the rights, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman rubbed salt into the wound.

“We’ve beaten them (NSW) seven times in a row in the State of Origin (rugby league series) and now we’ve secured the G20 2014 leaders meeting from our southern neighbours,” he said.

Mr Newman, a Liberal National Party premier, put partisanship aside in saying all Queenslanders should appreciate the federal Labor leader’s decision.

However his interstate colleagues took a shot at federal Labor. NSW cabinet minister Brad Hazzard, whose government offered the Sydney Opera House to host the summit, said Ms Gillard had made a political move to reclaim support for her party in Queensland.

“She’s chosen Brisbane simply to use the leaders of the world as political pawns in her game to try and win back the votes across Queensland,” he told AAP.

Victoria’s Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the G20 should be in Melbourne.

“Clearly the federal government has some issues with their electoral support in Queensland and I think they’re obviously playing a … role in satisfying that demand,” Mr Guy told reporters.

Federal infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese said growing pressure on Sydney’s airport and the shutdown of the convention centre over the summit period had setback Sydney’s chances.

The summit will run from November 15-16, 2014.

Cairns is tipped to host the lead-up finance ministers’ meeting, and the state will host a trade ministers’ summit as well as the B20 (business chiefs) and L20 (unions) summits.

An independent study of the Seoul G20 in 2010 found South Korea reaped economic benefits of about $20 billion, including new infrastructure, accommodation, global tourism promotion and extra conferences being booked before and after the summit.

Asked whether she expected to attend the event as prime minister, Ms Gillard said it would be up to voters in 2013. She warned the global event would come with “a huge security operation”.

“It’s important that when we put Australia’s face to the world, that face is one of a number of world-class cities in our nation,” Ms Gillard said.

The G20 will bring to Brisbane about 4,000 delegates and 3,000 accredited media.

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