Cairns Marine Precinct business case reveals opportunity for further growth

January 28 2022 - 4:00am
The Cairns Marine Precinct Infrastructure Investment Business Case was released on Friday, and outlines the importance of the project. Photos - Ports North.

The future of the Cairns Marine Precinct could include a common user facility to boost opportunities for industry and local maritime businesses.

The Cairns Marine Precinct Infrastructure Investment Business Case was released on Friday, and outlines the importance of the project.

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Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said making the precinct a common user facility would "enhance the capability" of the local maritime industry.

"The CMP is already northern Australia's leading hub for the repair and maintenance of defence, commercial and recreational vessels," Mr Miles said.

"Providing opportunities for industry and local maritime businesses to be more involved in maintenance work, a common user facility and associated infrastructure would be a further boost for local shipyards and would offer additional paint and blast facilities, hardstands and a ship lift."

Mr Miles said the $2 million business case was funded as part of a $30 million commitment by the Queensland Government and has found significant economic benefits would flow from new facilities.

Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development and Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the business case will support further investment in infrastructure in the precinct.

"It would take the precinct and local maritime businesses full steam ahead into new opportunities for more maintenance work on naval, border force, commercial and superyacht vessels," he said.

"The other $28 million of Queensland Government funding is already being invested in Ports North acquisition of strategic port land and in new infrastructure to support existing and future common wharf usage.

"The CMP and its supply chain employs approximately 4600 people and the Queensland Government's current investment in more wharf infrastructure is expected to create 150 jobs during construction."

Mr Miles said the Queensland Government would now consider recommendations from the business case, including the potential to pursue joint state and Commonwealth co-investment for a common user facility.

The Queensland Government's Strategic Defence Advisor for Maritime, Rear Admiral Simon Cullen AM CSC (Ret'd) said the Cairns Marine Precinct was of national significance as one of the few Australian ports offering maritime industry and Department of Defence potential expansion opportunities.

"Cairns is considered a strategic location for the Regional Maintenance Centre North East for the Royal Australian Navy," Rear Admiral Cullen said.

"Construction of a common user facility would allow local service providers to pursue additional maintenance work from the private sector as well as from the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Border Force.

"The Department of Defence has been a significant stakeholder in the development of the business case and discussions on defence planning and requirements will continue."

Tropical Reef Shipyard Director Robert Downing thanked the Queensland Government for funding the detailed business case.

"This has been an inclusive, well-coordinated and robust business case representing the various considerations of all three local shipyards and other key industry stakeholders," Mr Downing said.

The $30 million commitment to the CMP aligns with the Queensland Government's Defence Industries 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan, which is focused on growing capability in the state and supporting Queensland defence firms to access new opportunities and create new jobs.

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