Mayor tells new PM Turnbull 'don't forget Toowoomba'
TOOWOOMBA Mayor Paul Antonio has a message for Australia's new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull: "don't forget Toowoomba".
Mr Turnbull knifed former Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday night and Cr Antonio said it was important the Toowoomba region was not forgotten by the new leadership team.
Cr Antonio said he was hopeful Toowoomba would remain on the radar in Canberra.
He's been talking to the current Minister for Industry and Science, MP Ian Macfarlane, over the leadership change.
"I've been in discussions with Mr Macfarlane regarding what the transition will mean for this here and I understand it will be business as usual for Toowoomba," Cr Antonio said.
Mr Turbull has foreshadowed a cabinet reshuffle will take place early next week.
Mr Macfarlane supported Mr Turbull during the leadership challenge and looks set to be rewarded by holding onto a ministry.
Cr Antonio said it appeared Toowoomba would still be represented by a local member at the highest level of government, saying it brought "quite a lot of power to the table".
"Having a senior cabinet minister has helped us significantly," he said.
Cr Antonio makes regular trips to Canberra to meet the Prime Minister, senior ministers and opposition figures as part of his involvement with the Council of Mayors SEQ.
Following the leadership change the Liberal Party had to renegotiate a deal with their coalition partner the National Party and Cr Antonio said he hoped the proposed Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project had been high up on the agenda.
One plan for the project includes a rail line from Millmerran to Oakey, skirting Toowoomba on the way to Brisbane.
Cr Antonio said inland rail would give Toowoomba a "big shot in the arm".
"It has enormous potential to create sustainable jobs and grow the community in a positive way," he said.
"We're going to become a major intermodal hub in the near future.
"If you go to Charlton you can see the excitement and building that is going on."
Cr Antonio said he personally sympathised with Mr Abbott's situation following the leadership change.
"Whether you like or don't like Tony Abbott, you have to feel sympathy for him and the others who will likely become political casualties.
"He won the election comfortably but politics is a tough game."