A world class cultural precinct has been given the green light by the state government today.

“This project will breathe new life into the Cairns economy, add a major new attraction to the Cairns tourism experience and be a showcase for indigenous art and performance,” said the Premier.

“Our Government commits in this year’s budget to be a one third funding partner in making this facility a reality.”

Ms Bligh said the State Budget will make a $42.5 million contribution to the project consisting of a transfer of the State owned port land valued at $40 million and $2.5 million as a one third contribution of funding for detailed planning of the project.

“It will put Far North Queensland on the map as a cultural destination and add a whole new dimension to the experience of visitors to the region,” said the Premier.

“This is a firm commitment that the State Government will be an equal partner with the Cairns Regional Council and the Federal Government to develop the Cairns Cultural Precinct.

“When the business plan comes back, the State will fund a third of this project.

“I’ve been convinced that this project is what Cairns needs now and for the future.

“It will provide a new economic driver for the Cairns economy and our money is on the table ready for the project to become a reality. I look forward to working with the Cairns Regional Council to making this happen.”

Labor MP for Cairns and Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Desley Boyle said the announcement was “the best news for Cairns that we could have.”

“Over the years major projects such as the Cairns International airport, the Cairns Convention Centre and the Esplanade Lagoon have triggered a new age in the growth and development of Cairns.

“I have no doubt the Cairns Cultural and Entertainment Precinct when it’s up and running will do the same.

“I am so proud that my Government has stepped forward with a commitment to the total project and, right now, money on the table for the detailed planning and design and making available the very valuable waterfront land that will make this project the Darling Harbour of Cairns.”

Member for Barron River Steve Wettenhall said the community was behind the new centre for Cairns.

“This issue has united elected representatives, civic leaders and the business community,” he said.

“We’ve hit pay dirt on this issue. This is a giant leap forward for this project and it will provide a huge confidence boost to the region going forward.

“I am delighted that the Premier and the Treasurer have realised the importance of this project for our region.”

Member of Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the project was an important step towards diversifying the region’s economic base.

“This will fulfil the vision of a water front precinct that the city has held for many years,” he said.

“Maybe now we will see artists such as Pink not only visit Port Douglas for a holiday but hold a major concert in Cairns as well.”

Cook MP Jason O’Brien said he believed the centre would deliver many benefits for the Cairns community.

“This is something that will give a new dimension to Cairns as a community and as a tourist destination.”

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