More than half a billion dollars in pre-election promises by the Albanese Government must be reflected in new treasurer Jim Chalmers’ first Federal Budget in October.
Following a fruitful election campaign for the Far North that saw several major funding promises, including $150m to expand and upgrade Cairns Marine Precinct and $50m to secure the CQU Cairns CBD campus, Advance Cairns executive chairman Nick Trompf said it was vital that we saw these commitments come to fruition.
“FNQ has shown incredible resilience over the past two years, in large part thanks to the region’s growing defence, education, and allied health sectors,” said Mr Trompf.
“We gladly acknowledge the Albanese Government’s considerable commitments in the lead-up to the 2022 Federal Election to help continue this resurgence in the far north. However, we now need to see these pledges become a reality for our region in the upcoming October Budget.”
Mr Trompf also highlighted the critically important $15m tourism investment allocated for TTNQ in the March Federal Budget.
“While other sectors have emerged from the pandemic stronger than expected, our international tourism industry has taken a heavy blow from lockdowns and ongoing traveller uncertainty.
“The March Federal Budget’s $15m international recovery commitment for TTNQ was welcome relief for the region, which before the pandemic saw more than 850,000 international visitors coming to stay and spending $1.1bn each year.
“We ask that the Albanese Government maintains this commitment and includes the vital lifeline to reviving international tourism in its October Federal Budget.”
The full list of Advance Cairns’ Federal Budget requests includes:
- Defence: Transforming the Cairns port through $150m for a new multi-user marine maintenance facility (matched by the State Government)
- Tourism: Rebuilding international tourism into Cairns through the critical $15m announced in the March Federal Budget
- Health: Enabling full-term medical degrees through JCU Cairns from next year through 20 Commonwealth Supported Places plus allocating a further 40 of the 80 CSPs announced as a competitive pool in the March Federal Budget
- Workforce: Promoting regional skills development with $50m for a new CQUniversity campus in Cairns CBD
- Roads: Improving safety and reliability of Kuranda Range Road through $210m for essential safety upgrades, including $21mil for a preliminary evaluation and business case to future proof this vital economic corridor
- Water security: Ensuring long-term water supply for TNQ through $107.5m for Cairns Water Security – Stage 1 project
Mr Trompf said Advance Cairns would meet with Treasurer Jim Chalmers and a range of other senior MPs during a visit to Canberra next month.