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  • Tamara Sheward

    TropicNow writer

    Email Tamara Sheward

    Shock Budget news: $176 million for Cairns Convention Centre

    Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt has announced a shock $176 million funding for the upgrade and expansion of the Cairns Convention Centre in today’s State Budget.

    Today's Budget only includes $1 million in the 2017-18 financial year to pay for a business case aimed at validating the project, with the total $176 million in funding "set aside" over future years once the viability of the expansion is proven. 

    The expansion plan includes refurbishment of the existing centre plus the addition of 3000 square metres of new exhibition space and meeting rooms.

    The government predicts the expansion and upgrade would have major economic benefits for Cairns, including $30 million injected into the local economy each year, 20,000 extra visitors annually, greater  investment in TNQ and job creation.

    The Budget, handed down this afternoon in Brisbane, has also – as expected – confirmed $120 million for the dredging of Trinity Inlet, to be allocated in two $60 million stages.

    The Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Program will receive $175 million over five years to work on issues including water quality improvement, agricultural run-off and coastal development.

    The money tops up the $100 million over five years from 2015-2016 to address recommendations from the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce.


    Key points from a statewide perspective in today's Budget include:

    • $146 million surplus
    • Expected total debt of $71.99 billion
    • $9.8 billion for education
    • Unemployment rate expected to remain at 6.25 per cent
    • $770m towards reducing household electricity prices
    • $1.3b increase in health spending
    • $20,000 first home owners grant extended to December 2017
    • Additional $200 million to expand Works for Queensland Program
    • Extra $142m in child safety funding
    • 1.5 per cent land tax increase for foreign owners.
    • $18m to tackle the harmful use and effects of Ice
    • 3.5 per cent vehicle registration increase


    Key points affecting Cairns and the Tropical North include:

    • $176 million for Cairns Convention Centre upgrade and expansion
    • $120 million for the dredging of Trinity Inlet
    • $48.5 million for maintenance and capital works projects for schools across the far north
    • $10 million towards the construction of JCU’s Cairns Innovation Centre
    • $3.8 million of $4.1 million for relocation and upgrade of the Gordonvale Police Station
    • $3 million towards the construction of a new $70 million Cairns mental health facility
    • $2.767 million for protecting the banana industry from Panama Disease
    • $1.2 million over three years until 2019-20 to continue initiatives in Aurukun and West Cairns to address youth sexual violence and abuse
    • No funds allocated for proposed Smithfield bypass