January 2022 Newsletter

From the CEO

The year has started off with a bang, with several high-profile visits and significant announcements for our region.

Advance Cairns hosted the Hon. Peter Dutton for lunch during his visit to announce a huge $70 million Navy contract for NORSTA Marine, while the Prime Minister and Deputy Premier are both in town this week for their own major announcements.

In the meantime, our team has been busy finalising the Federal Budget Submission on behalf of the TNQ region to hopefully capitalise on some more big-ticket promises in the lead-up to the election.

Stay tuned for what will no doubt be an action-packed election year for our region.

Dr Paul Sparshott
Chief Executive Officer
Advance Cairns

Cairns Marine Precinct Business Case revealed

Findings from the Cairns Marine Precinct Infrastructure Investment Business Case have been revealed, showing that a Common User Facility could be on the horizon for the region’s maritime industry.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles announced the findings at Tropical Reef Shipyard in Cairns today, stating that the Business Case delivers on an election commitment and identifies investment in the Cairns Marine Precinct (CMP).

“The CMP is already northern Australia’s leading hub for the repair and maintenance of defence, commercial, and recreational vessels,” Mr Miles said.

“The Common User Facility would significantly enhance the capability of the Cairns maritime industry.

“Providing opportunities for industry and local maritime businesses to be more involved in maintenance work, a common user facility, and associated infrastructure would be a further boost for local shipyards and would offer additional paint and blast facilities, hardstands, and a ship lift.”

Mr Miles said the $2 million business case was funded as part of a $30 million commitment by the Queensland Government and has found that significant economic benefits would flow from new facilities.

Tropical Reef Shipyard Director Robert Downing thanked the Queensland Government for funding the detailed business case, describing it as an “inclusive, well-coordinated, and robust business case”.

The $30 million commitment to the CMP came as part of the State Government’s Defence Industries 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan, which aims to grow capability in the state and support Queensland’s defence firms to access new opportunities and create new jobs.

You can read more on the Cairns Marine Precinct in Advance Cairns’ priority paper, available here.

See the full findings from the Infrastructure Investment Business Case here.

Tablelands Access Strategy released

The Cairns to Northern Tablelands Access Strategy has been released to assist in future planning for the Tropical North Queensland region.

The $1.6 million comprehensive planning study looked into four transport routes between Cairns and the Northern Tablelands, with Mt Molloy Road, Kennedy Highway (including Kuranda Range Road), Gillies Range Road, and the Palmerston Highway all being considered. 

Network resilience, travel reliability, and freight access were all identified as major challenges for the corridors, while the study also highlighted that none of the existing corridors are operating at capacity.

Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said the $1.6 million planning study identified current transport issues in the region, future needs, and suggested solutions.

“The outcome of planning has informed the Cairns to Northern Tablelands Access Strategy – our roadmap of initiatives and investment over the short, medium, and long term to deliver the right infrastructure when and where it is needed most,” Mr Crawford said.

“The access strategy provides 59 recommendations to respond to these challenges, which include safety and resilience upgrades aiming to reduce the frequency and duration of closures due to severe weather events and crashes.”

Advance Cairns has been advocating for the release of these findings after the study was originally scheduled for completion in 2020.

You can read more on our Tablelands Access priority paper here.

To view the full Cairns to Northern Tablelands Access Strategy and its findings, click here.

PM announces $1B Reef injection

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in Cairns today to announce a $1 billion injection over the next nine years to protect the Great Barrier Reef as part of the Federal Government’s Reef 2050 Plan.

The new funding will support around 64,000 Queensland jobs and extends the Government’s total investment to more than $3 billion under the plan.

The Prime Minister said the $1 billion package will be used across the next nine years to support and enhance water quality, reef management and conservation, research and deployment of reef resilience strategies, and Traditional Owner and community-led projects.

“We are backing the health of the reef and the economic future of tourism operators, hospitality providers and Queensland communities that are at the heart of the reef economy,” Prime Minister Morrison said.

“This is already the best managed reef in the world and today we take our commitment to a new level.”

Federal Member for Leichhardt and Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef Warren Entsch said the announcement demonstrated the Government’s commitment to working alongside the local region.

“Our tourism operators, local communities and Traditional Owners are invested in the health of the Reef and this funding supports their commitment and the future of the world’s greatest natural wonder,” said Mr Entsch.

“The Reef is an amazing place for people to visit and, particularly as local businesses start to recover, I encourage people to come up and see that for themselves.

“This funding will help us keep it that way and ensure that we remain the best Reef Managers in the world.”

Exclusive luncheon with the Hon. Peter Dutton

Minister for Defence the Hon. Peter Dutton MP was in Cairns last week to award the $70 million Regional Maintenance Provider contract to local shipbuilding conglomerate NORSTA Maritime. 

Norship, Tropical Reef Shipyard, Nova Systems, and Secora were named to deliver the Regional Maintenance Centre North East in a landmark announcement that promises to provide long-term local employment and economic diversification for decades to come.

During his visit, Minister Dutton joined 80 Advance Cairns members and guests for an exclusive luncheon to discuss the region’s future in Defence and to hear from local stakeholders in the industry. 

Advance Cairns Platinum Members