JCU Cairns Enterprise Bundle

Project Description

Cairns, as a city on the point of transition from large regional centre to an important global tropical city, is extremely well placed to capitalise on changing global dynamics. The Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022 has set out priorities and opportunities for the North. In launching the Strategy, Queensland’s Treasurer has identified Cairns as ready for the realisation of the Tropical Trade Centre concept where consular services, market analysts, international education facilitators, global legal services and foreign trade agents are co-located.

The JCU Cairns Enterprise Bundle gives life to this ambition through 3 projects:

  • Cairns Tropical Enterprise Centre (CTEC) $50M. The design of this facility will ensure it becomes a prominent CBD landmark. The CTEC will house a multi-disciplinary centre for applied technology and enterprise. The activities of CTEC will serve the needs of Far North Queensland and tropical populations throughout the world, underwritten by an emphasis on the application of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. Fields of application include health technology, tropical urbanism, tourism, arts, the environment and agriculture. Activities include research and development, learning, innovation, incubation and commercial elements. Whilst location is currently under investigation, proximity to the Cairns Hospital, Cairns State High School and the Cairns business community will drive health, education and other collaborations.
  • Tropical Sports Conditioning Centre (TSCC) $33M. The TSCC will provide a world class high performance facility servicing the local community, youth, athletes, and occupational/tactical personnel along with bringing elite national and international athletes to the region. The TSCC will set the international standard for tropical sports conditioning, with important focus on both teaching and research in areas such as heat stress and physical activity, heat acclimatisation training for strength and endurance athletes and industry related heat illness.
  • Cairns Innovation Lodge (CIL) $40M. For students and researchers visiting Cairns, and to cater for the Global Schools Initiative. Subject to this Initiative or other partnership with the State proceeding, JCU will work with developers and investors towards establishing the Lodge in close proximity to the CTEC to advance enterprise in Cairns, or add to the accommodation on JCU’s Smithfield Campus.


JCU’s expertise in IoT provides the connective tissue for the activity across industry sectors proposed for CTEC and adds considerable value to the TSCC proposition. JCU is a leader in the field having established the first specialised degree course in Australia – the Bachelor of Electronic Systems and the IoT in 2016. The course has been well received by students and industry and has been the catalyst for new partnerships with Huawei Technologies and Optus.

The CTEC will build on this momentum by facilitating IoT as an enabler of broad based enterprise growth necessary to the development of Cairns and the Cairns CBD.

This momentum and opportunity must be realised now as the number of internet connected devices will rise by orders of magnitude over the next 10 years, and almost everything will become IP addressable and discoverable. New forms of commerce and economies are emerging as old models are disrupted. Start-up industries are forming that require a new type of graduate with the technical, design and entrepreneurial skills set needed to build firms in this economy.

IoT has applications across agriculture, health, tourism, retail and sustainable tropical living including water and energy management and distribution.

These projects build on JCU’s existing capacity and ‘first mover’ advantage and cements Cairns positioning as a Tropical World City.


JCU is seeking $123M capital investment from public and private sources to fund development of the infrastructure components of the three projects in the period 2018-21

  • That the $50M Cairns Tropical Enterprise Centre be jointly and equally funded by the Federal and Queensland State governments from 2018/19 FY.
  • That the $33M Tropical Sports Conditioning Centre be funded by the Federal Government from 2019/20 FY.
  • That the $40M investment for the Cairns Innovation Lodge be sought from the private sector.
“There’s no question in my mind that Cairns has the potential to be the world’s leading Tropical City but to rival major centres like Singapore, Mumbai and Bogota we need a strategic and global vision”

Curtis Pitt, Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment April 2017.


Kevin Byrne, CEO Advance Cairns
Ph: 07 4080 2900

PROPONENT: James Cook University
PRIORITY: Infrastructure
STATE ELECTORATE: Cairns, Barron River