2023-24 Federal Budget reaction

9 MAY 2023 (Cairns) – Advance Cairns, Far North Queensland’s independent economic development and advocacy organisation, today welcomed the confirmation of additional $30 million in funding for the critical Cairns marine precinct Common User Facility (CUF), part of a suite of measures contained in the Federal Government’s Budget unveiled tonight.

CEO Jacinta Reddan welcomed confirmation of a total $180 million for the CUF over the next five years, with CQUniversity’s CairnsCBD campus to receive $50 million over the next four years.

“Importantly, given the CUF is jointly funded by Federal and Queensland governments, we would expect to see this new money matched by the State, bringing to $360 million total funds earmarked for what is one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the region.

In committing these funds, the Government said this would see the delivery of a ship-lift and work areas and support the region’s forecast increase in demand for marine-related services, and would further diversify the economy.

“We are particularly pleased to see this forecast to flow from next year.  This comes on the heels of an announcement today to the Cairns business community by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk of $39 million towards early works for the CUF,” Ms Reddan said.

“And we are also delighted to see $50 million for the CQU CBD campus earmarked to flow from next year.”

Advance Cairns also welcomed the significant boost to Medicare which will see GP bulk-billing incentives tripled for families with young children, pensioners and concession cardholders.

Chairman Nick Trompf said this would have a significant impact in Far North Queensland, particularly in rural and remote parts of the region which are facing critical primary healthcare shortages.

“We also welcome more than $32 million over two years from next year to trial training programs to support international medical students working in rural and remote locations,” he said.

The organisation also welcomed an update of “Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Australia” to “address new and emerging geographic and economic challenges in Northern Australia”.

“This is particularly pertinent just weeks after the release of the Defence Strategic Review which placed particular emphasis on hardening Australia’s North with Cairns clearly playing a central role,” Ms Reddan said.

Advance Cairns also welcomed confirmation of $15 million over three years for Tourism Tropical North Queensland to stimulate international tourism for the Far North which had been earmarked in Treasurer Jim Chalmer’s October budget.

Among other measures included in the Chalmers’ budget to impact Far North Queensland are enhancements to the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme with plans to grow the scheme in critical sectors in regional and remote areas.

– Ends –


For further media comment:

Nick Trompf, Chairman                                                M: 0412 786 719

Jacinta Reddan, CEO                                                     M: 0498 373 094