The Federal Government says it will contribute $150 million to the expansion of the Cairns Marine Precinct.

The offer matches previously announced State Government funding and should allow the $300 million expansion project to proceed.

It’s expected to create a common user facility at the Precinct in Portsmith, including a 5,000-tonne ship lift on the site of the Fearnley Street boat ramp.

There would also be hardstands and paint and blast facilities, allowing Cairns to secure bigger defence and maritime contracts.


Federal Infrastructure Minister, Catherine King, said the $150 million commitment will be included in this month’s budget.

“Delivering the Cairns Marine Precinct common user facility is an investment aimed squarely at cementing the region’s status as a world leader for maintenance, repair, and overhaul for defence and recreational vessels, including super yachts.


“This region is a strategic and economic centre for northern Australia and the Common User Facility is at the heart of that critical role,” Ms King said.

Queensland Senator, Nita Green, said the funding is an investment in the future of regional Queensland manufacturing.

“This funding will transform our local marine maintenance industry, creating more secure jobs for locals and creating more opportunity for business.

“Regional Queensland can and should be the home of secure manufacturing jobs.”

It’s understood the Federal Budget will also include $50 million for the Central Queensland University Cairns CBD campus.

Both major parties promised funding for a new campus before the Federal election.

The University has operated in Cairns since 2015.

Advance Cairns CEO, Jacinta Reddan, said the announcements follow years of hard work and collaboration.

“The Cairns Marine Precinct project will significantly expand the capacity of the maintenance and sustenance work by the three shipbuilders.

"The benefits will flow well beyond the port precinct with jobs creation from trades through to professional services.

“Importantly, this creates an important career pathway to young people in Cairns who will find even more reasons to stay and prosper right in their own communities.

“The CQUniversity CBD campus will further revitalise the city centre, bringing the student and academic body into the heart of the city, creating foot traffic and support for businesses large and small in the precinct."


Main points

  • Federal budget will include $150 million for Cairns Marine Precinct
  • It matches State funding and should allow the project to proceed
  • Budget includes money for new CQU Cairns campus
This investment will help secure the future of the 4,600 jobs supported by the Cairns region’s marine sector.
Catherine King
Federal Infrastructure Minister