Premier Anna Bligh today gave the green light to the Cairns Entertainment Precinct by committing a further $57.3 million – to be funded by the sale of the old Brisbane Supreme Court site.

The Premier described the deal as a “win win” for both cities.

“Cairns deserves a world class entertainment precinct to breathe new life into tourism in the region,” Ms Bligh said.

“But Brisbane gains as well.

“We will offer the Supreme Court building to the market for uses such as a luxury hotel site, office accommodation and retail and also seek expressions of interest for a privately owned and operated theatre as part of the complex.

“The people of Cairns get an entertainment precinct to transform the city.

“The people of Brisbane get a new CBD building.

“Both cities gain the construction jobs and tourism boost that comes from new infrastructure.

“With a new cultural centre in the Far North and the potential for a new theatre in the capital city the cultural life of Queensland is also a big winner out of all of this.

“Sending funds from the Brisbane sale up north is about spreading wealth across the state,” Ms Bligh said.

The Queensland Government has already gifted land valued at $40 million for the precinct and provided $2.5 million for a detailed business case.

The Premier said the business case “stacked up” and the Queensland Government would committ a further $57.3 million, the Cairns Regional Council would provide $57.3 million and the Federal Government would provide $40 million.

The $154.6 Million Precinct will deliver:

  • A Performing Arts Centre – including a 1,100 seat performance space and 23 metre wide stage.
  • A multi-purpose rehearsal space which can be used by performing arts companies and community groups for small performances of up to 150 seas
  • A low height rehearsal studio for small rehearsals or performances like cabaret
  • Restoration of the heritage-listed White’s Shed so it can be utilised for community cultural activities, along with enhanced connectivity to the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal
  • A public plaza with canopy for weather protection
  • A pedestrian link connecting the Cairns Convention Centre to the Cairns Entertainment Precinct
  • Additional capacity enabling the Convention Centre to bid for more conferences

Member for Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said: “This is an exciting new phase in the history of the city and the Far North will welcome the 70 construction jobs associated with the project.

“To have a piece of Brisbane helping to fund our Entertainment Precinct is about as good as it gets,” he said.

Member for Barron River Steve Wettenhall said: “This is a great shot in the arm and confidence boost for Cairns.

“Visitors want and expect facilities of this calibre.

“The way that it links to the Conference Centre and adds capacity will be a boost to the city’s ability to bid for high-yielding business conferences and events,” he said.

Member for Cairns Desley Boyle said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for Cairns.

“It’s an opportunity for jobs and a tremendous boost to the social and cultural life of the city.

“It’s likely to become iconic and will be a boon to tourism,” she said.

Member for Cook Jason O’Brien said: “This will benefit the whole region not just Cairns.

“People attracted by this precinct will fan out across the Far North.

“It will mean more tourism activity in Port Douglas, the Tablelands and the Cape,” he said.