Advance Cairns | Budget needs to turn promises into reality


Budget needs to turn promises into reality

Nick Trompf
: (07) 4080 2900

Executive Chairman
Advance Cairns

Cairns is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic with renewed vigour, and we are seeing local businesses and community members placing a firm focus on forging a brighter, more sustainable future for the city.

The far north’s ambition to rebuild our decimated tourism and hospitality sectors, and simultaneously diversify the economy, is gathering considerable momentum.

A substantial bounce back in passenger numbers through Cairns Airport and strong domestic visitor spending are seeing a steady recovery for our tourism sector, while industries such as defence are experiencing significant growth thanks to government investments.

However, as Australia’s most global regional city, Cairns faces increasing risks through rapidly rising inflation, labour shortages, supply chain pressures and geopolitical instability.

Our economic recovery will be more sustainable thanks to the ALP and the LNP’s considerable commitments announced in the lead-up to the 2022 federal election.

While the region is grateful for those promises, it is vital that the new ALP Federal Government turns its pledges into reality in its upcoming October 2022 Federal Budget.

Some of the commitments on which Advance Cairns is seeking funding allocations include:

• Defence: Transforming the Cairns port through $150m for a new multi-user marine maintenance facility (matched by the State Government)

• Health: Enabling full-term medical degrees at JCU Cairns through 20 Commonwealth Supported Places from next year ($25m investment)

• Workforce: Promoting regional skills development with $50m for the new CQUniversity campus in Cairns CBD
• Roads: Improving safety and reliability of Kuranda Range Road through $210m for essential upgrades

• Water security: Ensuring long-term water supply for TNQ through $107.5m for Cairns Water Security – Stage 1 project.

It is also critical that the $15m dedicated to rebuilding international tourism into Cairns – as announced in the former Federal Government’s April 2022 Budget – is retained in the October 25 Budget.

While domestic tourism is bouncing back, one in three visitors to Cairns have historically been international – and reviving those markets will be protracted unless considerable marketing is invested to stimulate demand as the world opens up.

Advance Cairns looks forward to seeing these pledges come to fruition to help our region towards a brighter, more sustainable future.