Advance Cairns today released its Federal Budget submission in pursuit of almost $1.5B in infrastructure investment.
The submission is headlined by unprecedented spending on the Cairns seaport (including its Navy base) and a series of the region’s most vital roads, while also focusing on education, health, airport, and water infrastructure.
On the policy front, urgent support is needed to rebuild our COVID-impacted international tourism sector.
Advance Cairns chairman Nick Trompf said COVID had again highlighted the reliance of the region’s economy on tourism.
“Against the backdrop of the ongoing global pandemic, leaders of business and industry in the Cairns region have developed an integrated series of initiatives to drive renewal, resilience and greater diversity in the Far North’s economy,” Mr Trompf said.
“I’d particularly like to thank Tourism Tropical North Queensland, Cairns Chamber of Commerce, RDA Tropical North, and local government for their collaboration on this work.
“This year’s Federal Budget will be pivotal in bringing to life the growth opportunities which have been identified.
“Central to our submission is creating jobs – in traditional & advanced manufacturing, health & allied industries, ground-breaking research, education, primary production & processing, tourism & hospitality, and civil construction.
“In the three months between now and the federal election, we look forward to gaining bi-partisan support for the much-needed investments outlined in our budget submission.”
Speaking on new policy priorities highlighted in the submission, Advance Cairns CEO Dr Paul Sparshott said, “This economic growth brings with it liveability challenges for a linear city like Cairns, wedged between the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics rainforests and with limited public transport.
“On the roads front, Federal Government funding announcements for this region have been extraordinary in the past few years. We’re keen to see that money spent as soon as possible after State-led planning is completed.
“However, our growth needs to be managed more sustainably – and we are looking to the future with a new strategic approach being sought to reimagine urban growth in Cairns as the city surges towards a population of 300,000 by 2050.
“To plan for growth, we are recommending the development of a strategic integrated urban development and transport plan.
“With international borders reopening, business and industry leaders are confident the long-term future for Cairns TNQ is bright.”

Highlights of the Budget submission include: 

  • Defence: transforming the Cairns port and expanding HMAS Cairns, including a new $300-$400m common user facility
  • Roads: extending the National Highway A1 from Cairns’ northern suburbs to the Atherton Tablelands
  • Health: 80 CSPs in medicine across James Cook University campuses in Cairns, Townsville and Mackay
  • Workforce/skills: $50m for a new CBD campus for CQUniversity
  • Exports: rebuilding international tourism via $20m for aviation attraction, $40m for destination marketing and $10m for security upgrades at Cairns International Airport
  • Environment and development: $4m towards an integrated urban transport and development plan for Cairns and a new green economy priority called Enhancing Natural Urban Landscapes.
  • Water – security: ensuring agricultural growth and urban supplies via $250m+ investment