The Bligh Government has mapped out 114 projects crucial to the future of Cairns and the Far North.
They include a new Health Services Precinct at Edmonton to grow into a new Cairns South Hospital, hospital expansions at Atherton, Mareeba and Thursday Island, the Smithfield Bypass, future stages of Cairns Bus Rapid Transit Network, six new schools, two additional police stations, and new ambulance station.
The projects are in the Queensland Infrastructure Plan which is Australia’s first statewide infrastructure plan.
Premier Anna Bligh launched the document today setting out the state’s infrastructure needs for the next 20 years. It will be updated annually.
“It’s estimated the FNQ population will increase by 100,000 people over the next two decades and we want to be ready,” Ms Bligh said.
“We are determined to deliver infrastructure that anticipates growth.
“To do that you need a plan and this is the most comprehensive infrastructure planning document in Australia.
“It includes projects funded by all three levels of Government, as well as the private sector.
“These projects will help cater for population growth, improve people’s lives, and drive the region forward.
“Importantly, they also give the construction industry a clear line of sight for investment and development,” Ms Bligh said.
Since the draft version of the Queensland Infrastructure Plan was released for public consultation in July, more than 500 people have attended Way to Grow forums across the State to have their say. Another 7,000 have contributed online. The final QIP has 958 projects including 540 projects not in the draft.
In Far North Queensland the Bligh Government has identified a requirement for:
- Four new primary schools and 2 new secondary schools in the period from 2015 to 2031.
Health and Emergency Services
- An additional district police station and additional local police station before 2031.
- An additional ambulance station between 2015 and 2021.
- Hospital expansions in Atherton, Mareeba and Thursday Island between 2015-21
- A new Health Services Precinct at Edmonton between 2015-21, with a new hospital from 2021 based on demand
Roads and Transport
- A Business Case is now underway for future upgrades of the Cairns Western Arterial Road
- Delivery of the Smithfield Bypass from 2015
- Future stages of the Bruce Highway upgrades, including Cairns Southern Access Corridor and Edmonton to Gordonvale duplication.
- Future stages of Cairns Bus Rapid Transit Network, including;
- Stage 2 – Smithfield to JCU, Moody Creek to Earlville, Bentley Park to Mount Peter from 2015
- Stage 3 – City Centre to Moody Creek, City Centre to Aeroglen and Cairns Base Hospital to Redlynch. This includes new bus stations in Gordonvale and Palm Cove from 2021.
- Stage 4 – Includes Redlynch to Smithfield, JCU to Palm Cove, Aeroglen to Smithfield, Earlville to Bentley Park and Mount Peter to Gordonvale between 2021 and 2031.
Infrastructure being delivered over the next 4 years includes:
- Finalisation of the Cairns Entertainment Precinct planning process
- Cyclone Shelters at Weipa, Port Douglas, Edmonton and Tully
- Bruce Highway updates, including Stage 1 of the Cairns Southern Access Corridor and the Cardwell Range realignment
- Cairns Base Hospital Redevelopment, including the Cairns radiation oncology facility
Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the new projects were a sign of the Bligh Governments optimism about Far North Queensland.
“This series of projects will mean the Far North Queenslanders have access to top quality services.
“Far North Queensland is crucial to the states future and we need to keep investing in health, education, roads and transport.”
“The southern access upgrade will slash commute times for busy Mulgrave residents while the Health Service Precinct in Edmonton will deliver residents an expanded range of health services.
“All of these projects will help secure a brighter future for residents here in the Far North.”
Barron River MP Steve Wettenhall highlighted planned upgrades to the Cairns Western Arterial Road and the Smithfield By-pass as particularly welcome inclusions in the QIP.
“I have been pushing to have these upgrades recognised as government priorities and I am pleased to see them in the plan” said Mr Wettenhall.
“Population growth on the Tablelands and on the northern beaches will see more cars on main roads in my electorate so our road network has to keep pace.
“But our planning is not just about cars. The QIP includes staged implementation of the Cairns Transit Network, building on our achievements in delivering new buses and public transport infrastructure including $1.8 million for a new premium bus station at James Cook University and upgraded bus stops throughout the Barron River electorate” said Mr Wettenhall.
Member for Cairns Desley Boyle said: “The next surge of state government infrastructure is in key areas such as health, education, roads and transport. These are the areas of most concern to business and as well as to families and the community.
“The Cairns Infrastructure Plan reflects our government’s confidence that Cairns is moving into a growth period that will continue in the years ahead. It reflects our optimism for Cairns’ future.”