Port of Cairns will receive a $30 million boost to build two new wharves and advance the case for further growth as a defence vessel maintenance and shipbuilding hub.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the wharf construction work would deliver 150 new jobs at the Cairns Marine Precinct.
The funding announcement came under the Cairns/FNQ Regional Recovery Action Plan.
“Working with Ports North, the construction of these new wharves in Cairns will expand the capacity to carry out in-water maintenance on vessels used by the Australian Defence Force and Australian Border Force,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“The funding will also cover a business case to identify how we can build on this initial investment and grow as a centre for large vessel repair work.”
Treasurer Cameron Dick said in addition to the maintenance growth, shipbuilding could return to Cairns, with a separate study into the possibility of building vessels at the Cairns Marine Precinct.
“The Cairns Reshoring Shipbuilding Project business case will investigate the manufacture of commercial vessels required for servicing the region that would bring more new jobs to the city,” he said.
“There is an existing skilled work force, contractor base and infrastructure within the Cairns Marine Precinct which has a legacy of significant ship building in the city over many years.”
The $30 million in funding announced includes $28 million over 2020-21 to 2022-23 for the wharf construction project and $2 million in 2020-21 to complete the Cairns Marine Precinct Business Case for the broader development of the port’s marine industry.
The initiatives follow completion of the $127 million Cairns Shipping Development project, which paved the way for vessels up to 300m including visiting naval ships, cargo carriers and cruise ships to enter the port.
Ports North chairman Russell Beer said the organisation was working closely with the Queensland Government and a range of stakeholders including the three Cairns- based shipyards to firm up options which had arisen from work underway on a 30-year Master Plan.
“The work we have done shows that there is a need for a step up in facilities in the Cairns Marine Precinct to deliver on the opportunities of future growth of the marine sector,” he said.
Cairns FNQ Regional Recovery Action Plan initiatives include:
- $30 million to upgrade the Port of Cairns with two new wharves and a business case for further development of the Cairns Marine Precinct
- $450,000 to boost Far North Queensland’s biosecurity capacity to protect agricultural jobs
- $15 million to position the Cairns TAFE campus as the region’s main training hub
- $3.5 million for Cairns Aquarium to help local tourism sustain and recover
- $70 million for the Cairns Hospital Mental Health Unit redevelopment
- $52.9 million with James Cook University to make Cairns Hospital a university hospital
- $164 million for the Smithfield Bypass
- $33.4 million for the construction of the 94km Wangetti Trail
- $2.5 million Mareeba Ambulance Station replacement
- $2.1 million Atherton Community Centre
- $237.5 million jointly funded Cape York Region Package, which includes work on the Peninsula Development Road which will open up new opportunities for Indigenous businesses.