April 2022 Newsletter

From the CEO

What a month it has been, and with Federal Election campaigns now in full swing it is only going to become busier. The biggest announcement of course was the $107.5M commitment from both the ALP and the LNP for the Cairns Water Security Project – Stage 1. Well done to both parties, CRC and all those involved.

Over the Easter weekend we also had the chance to meet with Labor leader Anthony Albanese, shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers, Leichhardt candidate Elida Faith and Senator Nita Green.

It was a great opportunity to continue to lobby for our priorities, including $300-$400M for a common user faciliy for Cairns Marine Precinct, $11.2M to expand the Great Barrier Reef International Marine College, and the allocation of CSPs for medical students in the region. It was explained to our Labor MPs that while it’s good to build a new University Hospital, in order to reap the full benefits we need to be able to train the next generation of doctors right here in Cairns for the full term of their degree.

On the other side of the fence, the Coalition recently made a splash with a $5M investment in Port Douglas Aquatic Park that will provide a safe, year-round swimming facility for locals and visitors to the region.

We look forward to seeing what other announcements these campaigns deliver in the lead-up to May 21.

Paul Sparshott
Chief Executive Officer
Advance Cairns

Kennedy candidates luncheon

Roads and lack of housing availability were the key issues discussed at Wednesday’s luncheon with incumbent Member for Kennedy Bob Katter MP and candidates Jennifer Cox, Jason Brandon, Bryce Macdonald and Peter Campion.

The event offered crucial insights into each candidate’s main focuses ahead of next month’s Federal Election. 

Also in the spotlight was Labor’s commitment of $210M for necessary upgrades along the Kuranda Range Road, including guard rails, widened shoulders and increased protection against weather impacts and land slippages.

The road has already exceeded its daily traffic capacity and saw more than 130 closures in 2018-19 due to crashes and debris.

Advance Cairns has been advocating strongly for this funding and is now seeking bipartisan support as we head into the election.

You can read more on our Tablelands Access priority paper here:
Tablelands Access – Advance Cairns

To secure your seats to hear from our Leichhardt candidates on Wednesday, April 27, click here:
2022 Federal Election: Meet the Candidates Corporate Luncheon – Event Booking – Cairns Chamber of Commerce

Bipartisan support for water security

Far North Queensland has received crucial bipartisan support to help secure the region’s water supply and avoid a potential drinking water shortfall by 2026, with both the LNP and ALP committing $107.5M if they are elected into office next month.

The commitment comes on the back of strong advocacy work from key stakeholders, including Cairns Regional Council and Advance Cairns, plus Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, Special Envoy for Northern Australia Senator Susan McDonald and ALP candidate Elida Faith.

The funding covers 50 percent of the total project cost to allow additional water to be sourced from the Mulgrave River and to improve water treatment processes for the existing Behana Creek Water supply.

Council estimates that the project would support more than 1600 full time equivalent jobs and contribute $243M to GRP.

The Cairns Water Security – Stage 1 Project is now contingent on a remaining funding commitment from the Queensland Government.

Member Spotlight: Norship grant

Norship Marine has been awarded a matched-funding grant to build a $15M contemporary ship maintenance, construction, abrasive blasting and spray painting facility thanks to the Federal Government’s Northern Australian Maritime Industry Transformation (NAMIT) Project.

The announcement will assist Norship to continue their work as one of the largest shipyards and sovereign production teams in Northern Australia.

Norship CEO Olav Groot said the company is excited to play a role in supporting the next phase of the government’s ‘Our North, Our Future’ agenda.

The NAMIT grant aims to provide funding for businesses seeking to establish a new industry or significantly grow the value of an existing industry and contribute to transformational change in a region.

The funding will allow Norship to continue to build a more diversified and resilient economy in Tropical North Queensland.

Mixed Federal Budget for TNQ

Last month’s Federal Budget proved to be a mixed bag for our region.

While there were some benefits to be found with extra funding to address doctor shortages, further upgrades to key highways, support to revive international tourism and significant Defence investment, several major asks went overlooked.

Key priorities including upgrades to the Cairns port worth $300-$400M and $50M for a new CQUniversity CBD campus were missing from the Federal Government’s commitments.

Instead, broader national programs will benefit the region’s business and industry, including the fuel excise cut, tax breaks to SMEs looking to bolster their digital capabilities, and extra incentives to take on apprentices.

While Advance Cairns Chairman Nick Trompf said the Budget primarily focused on alleviating cost of living pressures for Australians, he said it should be recognised that the Far North will soon benefit from previous advocacy wins such as road upgrades across the region.

Member Spotlight: FNQHF to celebrate 25 years in style

The Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation will celebrate 25 years of hard work and achievements by its thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters across the region with its Anniversary Ball in June.

Since its modest inception in 1997, FNQHF has grown to be the most successful local charity in the region, donating more than $25M in specialist medical equipment, support facilities and support for research and education throughout FNQ along the way. 

The black tie event will take place at the Pullman International Hotel on June 4, featuring live music, a three-course dinner and more.

Go to fnqhf.org.au/anniversaryball for more information on tickets and prize donations.

Member Spotlight: Queensland X-Ray opens new practice

Cairns residents can now benefit from a new and improved Queensland X-Ray practice in Westcourt, located next door to Spotlight.

The site has replaced the previous Westcourt clinic, and boasts an additional MRI machine and a soon-to-be installed PET scanner.

Once operational, the PET scanner will run five days a week to help alleviate pressure on Cairns Base, which currently operates its PET scanner twice a week and leaves many patients needing to travel south to avoid wait times.

PET is considered the gold standard for oncology imaging and will offer faster and improved healthcare to Cairns residents once it is up and running in the next few months.

Connect FNQ

Local B2B magazine Connect FNQ has released its latest issue featuring business news and happenings around the region, including a column from Advance Cairns CEO Paul Sparshott.

Dr Sparshott discusses our exclusive luncheon with Minister for Defence the Hon. Peter Dutton MP during his trip north to announce the $70m Defence contract for NORSTA, along with several highlights from our 8+8 priorities. 

You can view the article on the Connect FNQ website here.

Advance Cairns Platinum Members