Frantic push to avert royal Sunshine State snub
A RIGHT royal push is on to lure the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Queensland, amid fears the Sunshine State could be snubbed on their upcoming bushfire relief tour of Australia.
Plans for Prince William and wife Kate to visit Down Under are being finalised, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison expected to issue the royal couple a formal invitation by the end of the week.
While final touches are being added to the itinerary, coastal areas in NSW and Victoria hit hardest by bushfires are understood to be the focus of the visit.
Further stops in South Australia are also being considered but it appears Queensland will miss out, despite having been hit first and hard by the fires.
The state has also been devastated by drought and the coronavirus crisis.
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen - whose region was ravaged by bushfires that destroyed properties including historic Binna Burra Lodge in the Gold Coast hinterland - said Kate and William should come to Queensland.
"We would welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the Scenic Rim," he said.
"Our communities would draw great comfort and reassurance from such a visit. Like many regions impacted by bushfires, we are feeling the economic impacts of lower visitor numbers and the lingering misunderstanding about how much of our incredible region remains untouched."
Cr Christensen said the loss of Binna Burra weighed heavily on residents' hearts, and a royal visit would help lift spirits and boost tourism to the region.
The royals could also take in "absolutely spectacular" scenery replenished by the rain.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the state's $13 billion tourism industry had been devastated by bushfires, drought and coronavirus, and "we would love for Kate and William to come here".
"Areas like the Scenic Rim and Sunshine Coast were badly affected by bushfires but there was also a perception that the whole of Australia was on fire and that impacted heavily on tourism," she said.
"Now we're dealing with the devastating consequences of coronavirus, so a royal visit would be a huge boost."
Queensland senator James McGrath said visiting Australia without stopping in Queensland was "like visiting London without eating bangers and mash".
"I'm sure there are many communities that would offer a warm welcome to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge," he said
Prince William previously visited flood-damaged areas of Queensland in 2011, and he and Kate came to Brisbane in 2014.