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  • Gavin King

    Tropic Now editor

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    Future of Cairns shipyards secured with $844 million dollar boost

    The Federal election campaign is heating up with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visiting Cairns to announce a huge boost to our marine port infrastructure.

    A combined $844 million will be spent upgrading marine and port infrastructure in Cairns over the next two decades.

    This morning's announcement by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of a $24 million boost for local shipyard infrastructure follows recent announcements of $420 million to upgrade facilities at HMAS Cairns and a $400 million maintenance contract for the fleet of new Pacific Patrol Boats.

    Mr Turnbull said the $844 million investment will sustain the current local workforce of about 1300 shipbuilding and maintenance staff as well as create new jobs both "immediately and in the future".

    Today's $24 million investment includes:

    • upgrading the wharfs and floating docks within the Cairns shipyards, allowing improved servicing of larger vessels
    • reconfiguring the Cairns refit yards so they can operate more effectively and boost their competitiveness
    • upgrading workshops, hardstands and ship refit areas

    Advance Cairns chair Trent Twomey said today's $24 million announcement was the result of long-term lobbying action by a range of stakeholders. 

    "Many thousands of man hours are behind today's $24 million announcement by the Prime Minister," Mr Twomey said.

    "The Advance Cairns team have worked around the clock with the ship yards, Ports North and the Federal member Warren Entsch to secure the long term future of the ship maintenance industry in Cairns.

    "Today's annoucement will see immediate job creation and give long term security for the hundreds of blue collar workers and their families working on the docks."

    After scoring a win on the Cairns Marine Precinct upgrade, Advance Cairns will now shift its focus to other key election priorities.

    Priority projects for the group include $10 million for the construction of the Cairns Innovation Centre at James Cook University, sealing of the Hann Highway in partnership with the Queensland Government, $10 million for the Cairns Performing Arts Centre and ongoing campaigns such as Nullinga Dam and Bruce Highway.