From the CEO

With the recent news of international passenger arrivals back to 93% of pre-covid numbers – constrained only by capacity – it was timely to celebrate national wins for Cairns Airport and Skytek with members. We learned of the significant potential of the general aviation, held back only by the limitations of existing infrastructure. You’ll hear a lot more about this over the next month so watch this space.

It was terrific to see both industry pioneers and newcomers from the regional tourism industry acknowledged at Friday’s Tourism Tropical North Queensland annual awards.  A stellar celebration of so many wonderful advocates for the region – and great to see long-standing supporters of Advance Cairns Pip Woodward, founder of the CaPTA Group and Dr Ken Chapman, Chair of Skyrail recognised as life members of TTNQ.  A warm welcome to new TTNQ chair John O’Sullivan.

Cairns hosted the intergovernmental Northern Australia Ministerial Forum to discuss the strategic importance of the north.  This was led by Federal Minister for Northern Australia Madeline King and was followed soon after by the annual Northern Australian Statement to Federal Parliament. I was pleased to represent Far North Queensland at this important event at Parliament House Canberra where we heard that “a strong north, means a strong nation”, underpinning the region’s outsized impact on the rest of the economy.

It certainly is time to recognise excellence in the business community with Cairns Chamber of Commerce’s BEX awards, the Mareeba Chamber of Commerce awards on the weekend and of course the Premier of Queensland Export Awards. I was honoured to be a judge at the Export Awards and to attend the gala event in Brisbane, but it was disappointing to see the low number of entries from this region. Can I challenge you all to enter the Export Awards next year and shine a light on the ingenuity, resilience and hard work of many businesses across the far north.

Don’t miss our AGM on Thursday night – our annual opportunity to take stock of the year that has been – and indeed, this marks my first year as CEO.  I look forward to meeting at the cocktail function immediately following the AGM.  RSVP’s are essential, click here.

Read more about these updates and other events below.

Best Regards,

Jacinta Reddan
Chief Executive Officer
Advance Cairns

Month in review

Championing Aviation event

Great to celebrate the wins and to learn of the opportunities in general aviation for the region with the event featuring Alana McKenna, Skytek’s CEO, and Richard Barker, CEO of North Queensland Airports. Setting new standards across the nation, Richard and Alana highlighted the importance of collaboration in seeking future wins for the sector.

More to come on this growth opportunity from Advance Cairns. Watch this space!


Canberra: Northern Australia statement to Parliament

Great to be back in Parliament House Canberra for the annual Northern Australia statement delivered this year by Minister Kristy McBain MP on behalf of Minister for Northern Australia Madeleine King MP.
An opportunity to hear firsthand how the Federal Government is focused on developing a sustainable and secure northern region for today – and into the future.

We were pleased to be among the nation’s ‘heavy lifters’ at the event hosted by Speaker Milton Dick MP. Always good to catch up with Nita Green – Senator for Queensland, The Hon. Warren Entsch MP, Professor Nick Klomp of CQUniversity Australia, Professor Allan Dale, NAIF board, the Indigenous Reference Group, the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia and so many other champions for the north.

AFLW: Hawthorn hosts home game at Cazalys Stadium

Great to see more than 2000 spectators flock to Cazalys Stadium to watch the women’s Aussie Rules game in the national AFLW league. Hosting this game in Cairns presented a significant opportunity for the local community to be further exposed to elite professional sport, with significant benefits for tourism economy.

Queensland Export Awards

Now in its 33rd year, the Export Awards shines a spotlight on the innovation, resilience and determination of Queensland’s top businesses as they grow and expand their global footprints.

This year CEO Jacinta Reddan served on the board of judges alongside government and industry leaders.

Congratulations to member TAFE Queensland for taking out the International Education and Training award for their outstanding international success or learner/student experience in the field of education and training.

And particularly pleased to see Cairns fashion company Mainie recognised for their outstanding success by a First Nations owned and led enterprise despite the major setback with the collapse of international travel during covid.

Member spotlight

Austal Australia: 17th Guardian-class Patrol Boat delivered

Austal Australia has supplied the 17th Guardian-class Patrol Boat to the Australian Department of Defence.
Austal Australia’s service centre here in Cairns, incorporating a 1,200 tonne (80 metre LOA) slipway and a 1,120 tonne mobile boat hoist, continues to provide in-service support to the growing Guardian-class Patrol Boat fleet; with more than 100 people employed in a variety of engineering and sustainment roles in the region.

Cairns’ maritime sector continues to play an ever-increasing role in our diversifying economy.

Sea Swift: Newcastle Bay

Terrific to celebrate the official welcome of Sea Swift’s newest vessel – The Newcastle Bay. And no better reminder of the important role our Executive member plays in keeping northern Australia connected.

The Newcastle Bay will be strategically deployed to maintain schedules connecting Cairns, Horn Island, and Weipa. She will also play a pivotal role in guaranteeing the timely delivery of food and essential supplies to the outer Torres Strait Islands.

Terrain NRM: 20 Years Safeguarding the Wet Tropics

Terrain NRM, a leading environmental organisation in the Wet Tropics region of Far North Queensland, has been shaping solutions for the area’s environmental challenges for 20 years. As a member Terrain NRM have influenced key priorities, including the 2022 Enhancing Natural Urban Landscapes – Rainforest to Reef initiative. Celebrate their 20th anniversary by joining their impactful party and plant a forest for the future.

Upcoming events

Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal | 3 November, Pullman Cairns International
Enjoy a glamourous evening of fine food prepared by four outstanding Executive Chefs from Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, Shangri-La Cairns, Hilton Cairns and Pullman Cairns International. Take a chance to bid on one off experiences and priceless memorabilia.
Donate >>
Book now >>

Cairns Convention Centre Community Open Day | 11 November, 10am-2pm, Cairns Convention Centre
Find out more >>

2023 Queensland Tourism Awards Gala | 24 November, Cairns Convention Centre
Buy tickets >>



The $16 million Queensland Business Energy Saving and Transformation (QBEST) program will target the state’s more than 450,000 small-to-medium businesses, allowing them to claim up $12,500 cash back on electrical appliances and helping them to save money off power bills.
Find out more >>

Growing Future Tourism Program | $4,000,000 | Closes 9 November
Round one of the Queenland Governments Growing Future Tourism program will provide financial support to deliver new and enhanced tourism infrastructure or experiences in the priority areas of coastal and marine tourism; heritage and cultural tourism; ecotourism and sustainability.
Find out more >>

Made in Queensland Round 6 | Matched funding grants of $50,000 to $2.5 | Close 11 December 2023 million
Round 1 of the Growing Future Tourism program will provide financial support to deliver new and enhanced tourism infrastructure or experiences in the priority areas of coastal and marine tourism; heritage and cultural tourism; ecotourism and sustainability.
Find out more >>

Go-Green Co-Innovation Program | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade | $9,625,000 | Closes 4 December
Go-Green Co-Innovation Program seeks to facilitate collaboration between Australian small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and Singaporean businesses in jointly undertaking projects that drive the decarbonisation of economic activities, or help Australia or Singapore to transition to net zero emissions. By incentivising Australian SME to establish or expand business and commercial activities with Singaporean businesses, GGCIP seeks to boost trade and commerce between Australia and Singapore in environmental goods and services across green sectors.
Find out more >>

The Reef Coastal Restoration Program | Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water | $15,000,000 | Closes 20 November
Find out more >>