Renee Cluff

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Council concerned industrial hub could bring unwelcome competition

Cairns Regional Council has backed an expansion of the Cairns South State Development Area (SDA) but wants assurances that existing private businesses won’t be impacted by competition.

The Council’s set out its concerns in a submission on the draft development scheme for the industrial hub, which is located on two separate parcels of land at Wrights Creek and MSF Sugar’s Mulgrave Mill at Gordonvale.

The submission is expected to be ticked off on by Councillors at tomorrow’s general meeting.

In the letter, General Manager for Planning and Environment, Kelly Reaston, said the draft document fails to provide clarity on the nature and scale of proposed land uses.

“There is uncertainty in the preferred development intent for development in the High and Medium Impact Industry precincts, which occupies the majority of the developable area,” she said.

“The SDA must align with industrial needs of the region and avoid competition with private business and existing approvals.”

Ms Reaston also calls for further information on the proposed timing, staging and sequencing of development as well as what infrastructure will be needed.

The draft scheme says development in the High Impact Industry Precinct must relate to, support or require significant inputs from key sectors of the Cairns economy, such as agriculture or tourism and must align with State Government priority sectors such as bio-futures, biomedical sciences and mining equipment.

Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said more detailed information can be provided to potential investors.

“The Office of the Coordinator-General can assist investors through up-front detailed land use and infrastructure planning, and by offering a one-stop-shop to streamline development assessment processes and help make land available at the right time,” he said.

“This SDA will bolster the economic future for the region and ensure this valued part of our state is prepared for the growth we expect it will experience in the coming years.”

One area that has been clearly defined is an intermodal transport depot and freight terminal located alongside both the Bruce Highway and the existing railway line.

The majority of the 332 hectare Mulgrave Mill site has been allocated to sugar cane growing and supporting the diversification of the mill’s business, a $150 million plan which includes a green power plant.

The public consultation period ends on Friday.