Arts, Sport and Culture

Tariff Equalisation
BRIEFING NOTE SUMMARY
  • With Cairns positioning itself to be the Arts, Sports and Cultural Capital of northern Australia, to cater for its multicultural community, welcome new migrants and encourage social cohesion, further investment in infrastructure is required.
  • To strengthen arts and culture, the Cairns Gallery Precinct will showcase domestic and international touring exhibitions as well as contemporary local and indigenous art. The project requires tri-partite investment of $39.8 million.
  • The Cairns Showground, Sporting and Community Precinct requires considerable infrastructure upgrades to avoid insolvency by 2026. Master planning indicates a $40 million investment is required to upgrade this vital community asset.
  • Cairns is positioned as an international sports destination, which represents an important and growing sector of the region’s economy. To unlock the potential further, a $1 million business case investment is sought to identify catalytic infrastructure required.
THE ISSUE

Cairns’ ambition to be the Arts, Sports and Cultural Capital of northern Australia is an objective embedded in the Cairns Regional Council Corporate Plan 2017-2022, the Cairns 2050 Shared Vision, and widely supported by Cairns business and industry.

The Cairns region has seen recent investment in arts, sport and cultural facilities such as the Cairns Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) and Wangetti Trail, and plays host to events of international significance such as the Ironman Asia Pacific Championship, Paralympic Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF), UCI World Mountain Bike Championships and Targa Great Barrier Reef.

However, the continued growth of arts, sport and culture requires additional investment. To achieve this, three key projects have been identified:

  1. Cairns Gallery Precinct development ($39.8 million)
  2. Cairns Showground, Sporting and Community Precinct redevelopment ($40 million)
  3. International sports destination market assessment and business case ($1 million)

The Cairns Gallery Precinct is an initiative of Cairns Regional Council and is aligned with the Cairns 2050 Shared Vision, which was launched in partnership with industry stakeholders in 2018. The project aims to connect three regionally significant heritage listed buildings in the Cairns CBD (the existing Cairns Art Gallery, the Old Cairns Courthouse and the former Mulgrave Shire Council offices) and establish a new world class precinct that has a strong connection to the region’s indigenous communities.

The Cairns Showground, Sporting and Community Precinct plays host to Australia’s biggest regional show, a key annual event that provides education pathways and exposes residents to rural activities that would otherwise not be experienced. The precinct also facilitates activities that are affordable and family oriented, making this critical infrastructure for community-based events that cannot be accommodated elsewhere. Redevelopment of the precinct will grow community engagement in the region.

As an international sports destination, Cairns has a unique opportunity to further position itself as a destination of choice for sports tourism, elite level sports training camps, mass participation sporting events and sports related research and education. With a solid track record of attracting and hosting large scale events and elite athletes, the opportunity exists to unlock further potential in areas such as professional women’s sport and tropical sports conditioning.

 

BACKGROUND

The Cairns region has an estimated resident population of 278,080, with 10% of people identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and 19.1% being born overseas. The multicultural nature of the region is reflected in the importance of the arts and recreation sector to the economy, which employs 1.8% of the total workforce and contributes $105.8 million to the economy annually. To cater for the multicultural community, welcome new migrants and encourage social cohesion, a range of facilities are required to accommodate community activities while also catering for elite athletes.

To strengthen arts and culture, the Cairns Gallery Precinct will showcase domestic and international touring exhibitions as well as contemporary local and indigenous art. The precinct will provide community arts and cultural facilities including collaborative working and learning spaces, production spaces, civic function and events spaces and food, beverage and retail facilities. It will provide a significant positive economic impact during construction and once operational, will add $20.7 million annually to Gross Regional Product and support 177 ongoing full-time jobs.

To accommodate community events, the Cairns Showground, Sporting and Community Precinct requires considerable infrastructure upgrades. Located near the Cairns CBD, the site covers 25 hectares of State-owned land with Cairns Regional Council appointed as Trustee. The Trustee agreement between the State Government and Council is due to expire in October 2019. The agreement must be resolved prior to that date to ensure ongoing lease arrangements for the Cairns Show Association. In 2018, the QLD Govt funded a Master Plan and financial feasibility for the precinct, which indicates that without significant upgrades to attract events and members, the precinct will become insolvent as early as 2026. Investment in the Master Plan redevelopment will help reverse this trend.

To unlock potential as a sports destination, an important and growing sector of the Cairns economy, a detailed business case is required that includes an implementation plan for key initiatives. The business case will identify key opportunities to ensure Cairns can best position itself as a sports destination of choice. Potential projects flagged include the establishment of a Women’s NBL Basketball team, a Tropical Sports Conditioning Centre, and a multi-use rectangular stadium.

 

NEXT STEPS

In developing the arts, sport and culture sector in Tropical North Queensland, the following three projects are considered essential enablers and require investment to proceed:

  1. The Cairns Gallery Precinct, which has an estimated capital cost of $39.8 million. Cairns Regional Council is seeking a tri-partite funding model with the Federal, State and Local Governments each contributing $13.3 million. A detailed business case has been completed and the project is ready to progress to design and construction phase.
  2. The Cairns Showground, Sporting and Community Precinct upgrade has an estimated capital cost of $40 million. With the Master Planning process complete, the project requires a business case to facilitate environmental approvals and progress to design and construction.
  3. Positioning Cairns as a Sports Destination requires further scoping to identify and unlock catalytic project opportunities. A two-stage detailed business case is required to achieve this, with the project to be led by CQUniversity.
OUR RECOMMENDATION
  • That under a tri-partite funding arrangement, the Queensland and Federal Government’s each commit$13.3 million in the 2020-2021 budget to invest in the Cairns Gallery Precinct.
  • That in 2020-2021, the State Government invest $40 million to upgrade the Cairns Showground, Sporting and Community Precinct in line with the Master Plan.
  • That in 2020-2021, the State Government invest $1 million to facilitate a detailed business case that identifies catalytic projects for the sports tourism sector.

PROPONENTS: Cairns Regional Council, CQUniversity, Cairns Show Association
PRIORITY: Infrastructure
COUNCIL: Cairns
STATE ELECTORATE: Cairns
FEDERAL ELECTORATE: Leichhardt
8+8 map Cairns