From the Executive Chair
The far north has been front and centre this week with State Government activities with a range of senior ministers in the region.
Yesterday Advance Cairns staged our annual post State Budget review at the Hilton Hotel with Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Cameron Dick.
The event this year also took on an export outlook with Trade and Investment QLD co-hosting the function.
The Treasurer was joined by fellow cabinet ministers in Leeanne Enoch (Communities and Housing, Digital Economy and the Arts) and Craig Crawford (Seniors and Disability Services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships) along with assistant Ministers Charis Mullen (Treasury) and Michael Healy (Tourism Industry Development). Under Treasurer Leon Allen also made the journey north.
During his presentation the Treasurer highlighted the strong economic recovery underway in the far north and Queensland more broadly, at the same time acknowledging that labour shortages are challenging growth in many sectors.
The event followed an earlier announcement that Cairns will host a regional sitting of the full Queensland Parliament in May next year, showcasing the Cairns Convention Centre post its refurbishment and expansion.
Advocacy delivers Budget outcomes
The region secured several major wins in the recent health-dominated State Budget, with Cairns Hospital set to receive $250m as part of what the Government hailed ‘the largest investment in new hospitals and beds in the state’s history’.
Treasurer Cameron Dick’s third budget included funding for 141 extra beds at the hospital over four years (with 45 of those beds to come online in the second half of next year) and 96 to be delivered as part of a new surgical unit.
The Budget also included $107.5m towards the Cairns Water Security Project – Stage 1 (matching federal funding pledged).
On the marine front, while associated budget collateral prominently highlighted the State’s $150m pledge towards a common user facility at the Cairns port no actual funding was allocated in the budget papers. Advance Cairns will continue to pursue this in future budgets.
The Treasurer gave a comprehensive 45-minute overview of the Budget to 100 guests at yesterday’s 2022 Budget, Trade and Investment Outlook luncheon, jointly hosted by Advance Cairns and TIQ.
To view the full Budget Papers or regional highlights, go to https://budget.qld.gov.au/budget-papers/.
Cairns to host Queensland Parliament
The newly expanded and refurbished Cairns Convention Centre will host a regional sitting of Queensland Parliament next year from 9-11 May.
It will be the time Parliament has been held outside of Brisbane since the State Government announced a reintroduction to regional sittings in 2017.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk highlighted the importance of regional sittings, particularly in a state as large as Queensland.
“Regional sittings are a valuable opportunity especially for school children to see the house in operation from the public gallery,” she said.
“The people of Cairns and the far north deserve their chance to see the Parliamentary process, up close and in person.”
Member Spotlight: CHHHS appoints interim Chief Executive
Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service has appointed Dr Jeremy Wellwood as interim Chief Executive while the Board undertakes a six-month recruitment process.
The appointment follows former CEO Tina Chinery’s departure to return to WA after six years of service with CHHS.
Dr Wellwood comes armed with 25 years of clinical experience, including time as a Clinical and Laboratory Haematologist and his most recent role as Executive Director of Medical Services, Clinical Governance and Research at Gold Coast Health Service.
Member Spotlight: Cairns Post welcomes new GM
Lifelong local Stephanie Campbell has been appointed General Manager at the Cairns Post, stepping up from her previous role as advertising manager to take over from former GM Andy Reeves.
Ms Campbell said she was eager to use her new role to help advance the local region.
“Progressing Cairns is key to our work here at the Cairns Post,” she said. “I am really looking forward to continuing that and, as a local, I’m blessed to have relationships and friendships with many leaders in the community already.”
Congratulations to Ms Campbell on her new appointment!
New Member: Mission Consulting Solutions
Advance Cairns would like to welcome Mission Consulting Solutions as our organisation’s newest member.
Director Anne Pleash started Mission Consulting following years of experience across a range of high-ranking government and private enterprise positions.
The company has been providing boards, private enterprise and government clients with strategy development, governance solutions, communications and more across FNQ and beyond for two years.
Welcome, Mission Consulting Solutions!
Record visitor spend boosts economy
A record $3 billion in visitor spending has provided a major boost to the Tropical North Queensland economy over the past year according to data from the latest National Visitor Survey.
The extraordinary expenditure in the year ending March 2022 was up 18.8% compared to pre-COVID figures in 2019.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen said the figures showed domestic travelers were spending more and staying longer in the area, making it the strongest growing region in Queensland over the past 12 months.
Alongside the strong visitor spending, Cairns Airport has enjoyed the largest domestic passenger throughput since September 2019, exceeding even the recent Easter school holiday boom in April.
More than 90,000 passengers passed through the airport in the week commencing 20 June, almost 30,000 more than this time last year and 10,000 more than the same period’s pre-COVID count in 2019.
The strong numbers are expected to continue with the resumption of Jetstar’s direct flights to Newcastle until the end of October and Qantas widebody A330 flights bringing passengers from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Photo credit: Cairns Airport