Tropical North Queensland is set to receive more than half a billion dollars in Federal Budget commitments following the Albanese Government’s first Budget tabled last night.

Marine and education were the region’s big winners, while tourism received welcome news with confirmation of $15m in tourism recovery funds for Tourism Tropical North Queensland to stimulate international tourism.

Delivery of $200m for the Cairns Marine Precinct and a CQUniversity Cairns CBD campus headlined the announcements, with funding to be rolled out over six years from 2023/24. This comes after the two projects were confirmed by Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government the Hon Catherine King MP at an Advance Cairns breakfast last week.

Advance Cairns will now seek further clarification on the split of funding for the two transformational projects.

The region can also look forward to an additional $107.5m towards Cairns Regional Council’s Cairns Water Security – Stage 1 project, $210m for the Kuranda Range Road upgrade, and $13.2m for Commonwealth Supported Places at JCU Medical School.

Describing key projects as transformational, Advance Cairns CEO Jacinta Reddan said the Federal Budget was a significant win for the region, with the Federal Government following through on all major advocacy asks from Advance Cairns.

“These projects deepen the breadth of the economy, create jobs and skills growth, improve logistics and supply chain, support the delivery of critical medical services and paint a bright, sustainable future for the region.

“This Federal Budget demonstrates a real commitment to the Far North, and we are pleased to see strong advocacy from Advance Cairns, TTNQ, and other regional stakeholders come to fruition through support for marine, health, tourism, and road infrastructure,” said Ms Reddan.

“Funding for the marine precinct and CQUniversity are set to have immediate flow-on benefits for the entire region from construction through to operation and beyond, and we are eager to see the money begin to be rolled out as early as next year.

“We also welcome confirmation of much-needed support for international tourism in the region, with $15m for TTNQ to promote international tourism recovery.

“This funding will be a lifeline for the Far North’s international tourism industry, which is still in the early stages of recovery following COVID-19 lockdowns.”

Funding commitments for Far North Queensland from last night’s Federal Budget include:

  • $200m towards the Cairns Marine Precinct and a new CQU Cairns CBD campus
  • $15m for TTNQ towards international tourism recovery in the Far North
  • $107.5m for Cairns Water Security – Stage 1 project
  • $210m for safety and capacity upgrades to Kuranda Range Road
  • $13.2m for James Cook University Medical School for 20 additional Commonwealth Supported Places and to establish a new medical training campus in Cairns

Ms Reddan paid tribute to the Advance Cairns board and key stakeholders, including Cairns Regional Council and TTNQ who had campaigned strongly for these funds.