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Monday, July 15, 2024

Advance Cairns welcomes water security boost

ADVANCE Cairns, a leading independent economic development and advocacy organisation for Far North Queensland, has welcomed the funding announced for the Cairns Water Security Stage 1 project, with an additional $87.5 million allocated in the 2024-25 State Budget.

Although this falls short of the full $128.5 million sought by Cairns Regional Council, it is a significant boost, reducing the financial burden on ratepayers.

Advance Cairns indicated it would now be urging the Federal Government to match this investment.

New commitments:

  • Additional commitment of $87.5 million to the Cairns Water Security Stage 1 project taking the state government’s total commitment to $195 million, with $40 million delivered in 2024-45
  • $60 million to commence delivery of Cairns Health and Innovation Centre (CHIC) Stage 1, with $8m delivered in 2024-25
  • $200m investment to redevelop and deliver a contemporary Cooktown Multipurpose Health Service facility, increasing bed numbers by 50 per cent

Delivery of funds in FY 2024-25:

  • $15 million of the $300 million total spend towards the duplication of the Cairns Western Arterial Road between Redlynch Connector Road and Captain Cook Highway. Delivered in partnership with the Australian Government.
  • $2 million out of a $262.5 million total spend funding commitment towards safety and resilience upgrades on Kuranda Range Road. Delivered in partnership with the Australian Government.
  • $37 million out of a $360 million total spend towards the Cairns Marine Precinct – Common User Facility project for increased maintenance, repair and overhaul service capabilities. Delivered in partnership with the Australian Government.
  • $14.8 million out of a $16 million total spend to expand TAFE Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef International

Marine College. This includes constructing a new workshop, additional classrooms, staff facilities and a boat shed.

Advance Cairns Chief Executive Officer Jacinta Reddan said the organisation welcomed the additional funding to the Cairns Water Security Stage 1 project, ensuring that the city’s water supply is secured.

“Importantly, we would hope that the Federal Government matches this funding, therefore collectively alleviating cost of living pressures on ratepayers,” she said.

“We are particularly pleased to see this announcement in the wake of recent green light given to the CHIC (Cairns Health and Innovation Centre), with an initial $60 million committed by Premier Steven Miles and Health Minister Shannon Fentiman here in Cairns.

“Securing funding for these two critical projects demonstrates the power of collaboration and the strength in working together.

“We have been delighted to support Cairns Regional Council alongside other key stakeholders to support their Water Security project in particular.”

Ms Reddan said the water security project will ensure that the city is equipped to meet the needs of growing region.

“We also want to acknowledge the hard work of local members Minister for Tourism and Sport Michael Healy (and Member for Cairns), Speaker Curtis Pitt (Member for Mulgrave) and Craig Crawford (Member for Barron River) who understood the critical importance of the water security and have been strong advocates for this project,” she said.

“However, we are disappointed to see only $15 million budgeted for the duplication of the Cairns Western Arterial Road, a critical route for the region with work seemingly stalled.

“We will also continue to push for funding for expansion of the Cairns general aviation sector, with investments in a 10,000-square-metre hangar and an Australia-first Cessna Caravan pilot training simulator firmly in our sights.”

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Budget to support First Nations communities and Concerns over heat during Brisbane Olympics.

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