Cairns is on course for two major Queensland Government projects to boost tourism and turn the city into an economic growth hotspot while protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said developing the Port of Cairns and a potential Cairns South State Development Area (SDA) would create jobs, strengthen the far north Queensland economy and boost the region’s shipping and industrial credentials.

“Ports North’s $120 million Cairns Shipping Development Project could create up to 800 new and indirect construction jobs over the five year period and 2,700 jobs after the construction phase,” the Premier said.

“This will make Cairns more attractive for new and existing businesses and industries looking to expand and invest and open opportunities to diversify economy-boosting industrial development.

Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the project would bring around $112 million a year into the economy by positioning Cairns to take advantage of the growing cruise ship industry and enhancing defence capabilities.”

“This is why the Queensland Government announced in the recent budget that Ports North would receive a $30 million a year contribution to the project over the next two financial years,” he said.

Minister for State Development Dr Anthony Lynham said the expansion would be done with the absolute minimum disruption to the Great Barrier Reef as Ports North has reduced the volume of dredging needed from more than four million to just one million cubic metres, or less than a quarter.

“The proponent will also ensure that all dredged material is disposed on land to comply with the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 and the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan,” he said.

“Ports North last year revised the project to cap proposed expanded capacity at ships up to 300 metres in length that now anchor offshore as they cannot berth in the port.

“Ports North has investigated land-based dredge material placement sites, channel design and other environmental assessments prior to submitting the revised draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the State’s independent Coordinator-General.

“The revised draft EIS for the proposed Cairns Shipping Development Project is open for public comment on the Department of State Development’s website until 25 August 2017.”

Dr Lynham said public consultation on a potential Cairns South SDA on an approximately 840ha site east of the Bruce Highway and north of Gordonvale was open until 11 August 2017.

“The potential SDA would support the regions growing tourism sector by providing land for supporting enterprises like catering companies, consumable suppliers and leisure enterprises to locate and expand their businesses,” he said.

“We want to attract regionally significant industrial development to the area and ensure that we have the right land available and streamlined approvals processes

“Of the many priority sectors in the Queensland Government’s 10-year Road Maps and Action Plans, advanced manufacturing, biofutures, biomedical and life sciences, and defence related industries are also likely to be attracted to establish in the potential Cairns South SDA.

“Within a SDA, the state’s independent Coordinator-General can provide business and industry with a one-stop shop to speed up government approvals and really drive industrial development in the area.

Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke said the Palaszczuk Government had committed $100 million over five years in extra funding for Reef water quality projects to improve the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.

“The project will create business opportunities in channel maintenance and monitoring and freight logistics as it will widen and deepen the existing Trinity Inlet shipping channel, upgrade wharf facilities, enhance naval capabilities and improve port efficiencies,” she said.

“Should a decision eventually be made to declare the Cairns South SDA, there would be no impact on existing uses of the land.”

For more information on the revised draft EIS for the proposed Cairns Shipping Development Project and the potential Cairns South SDA visit: