(Please note that this document will continuously be in a state of review)
- Cairns 2050 Growth Planning Project. By 2050 Cairns will be the largest city in Northern Australia and with its many international airport connections and strategically positioned seaport, will be the undisputed northern gateway to Australia. To achieve this outcome, the growth needs to be supported by a, Regional Integrated Strategic Plan which will guide the form and delivery of infrastructure needed to achieve economic sustainability and growth in Cairns and the region in a planned and systematic fashion. Successful cities and regions are generally those who can boast sustainable economic activity that supports populations of more than 300,000 in a city and 500,000 and more in a surrounding region. Communities of this scale are less reliant on government largesse to survive. The implementation and delivery of the Cairns 2050 Plan requires commitment and cooperation from all levels of government to achieve the goals and objectives of the Developing Northern Australia White Paper of 2015 and other sector specific plans. An Integrated Strategic Plan will not only ensure the longevity of the area’s natural environmental assets, but will also provide for and drive achievable economic development outcomes that delivers sustainable growth and provision of services to the city and region. The Commonwealth Government Smart Cities Plan highlights the importance of involvement from all tiers of government to ensure that all cities, including regional cities such as Cairns, meet their full potential as functional and accessible places for all. The Smart Cities Plan seeks cooperation from local and State governments with the support of the Commonwealth government to achieve sustainable cities into the future, and hence it is important that this level of planning is not just restricted to those cities selected, but across Northern Australia as articulated in the growing Northern Australia agenda. Enterprise North will advocate relentlessly to ensure infrastructure supports the growth agenda, and will work with other like minded organisations to represent to government a suite of measures aimed at incentivising businesses and individuals to relocate to North Australia from the congested urban communities to our south. These measures will incorporate, but not be limited to aspects around an incentivised personal and business taxation scheme, a fair and equitable insurance scheme, a competitive and trained workforce and access to a responsive and flexible visa scheme to attract migrants to the north. Currently we are collaborating on this project with Bespoke Approach Northern Territory to ensure as best as possible complimentary policy positions across all northern jurisdictions. This is an ongoing project requiring collaboration with Federal and State Governments across Northern Australia.
- Cairns Port 2050 Project. The Cairns Port, along with Cairns International Airport, are the two major economic pillars driving our regional prosperity. This project also known as the Admiralty Island Freight Park, aims at providing a comprehensive strategic pathway to providing the solutions to a currently constrained port operating environment to address the expected growth out to 2050. We must continue to advocate for a containerised port that services a city population of
300/350,000 and a regional population of 500/550,000 and has the capacity to accept future bulk commodities to support the growth. Additionally our focus will increasingly be to drive the development of the Port of Cairns as a nationally strategic defence asset that will play an increasing role in supporting our Defence and other strategic border alliances from Northern Australia including nations in Melanisia. The Port of Cairns needs to be seen to be as a pivotal piece of our infrastructure assets along with the Cairns International Airport. Critically this project is not reliant on governments for upfront infrastructure capital, but rather it is reliant on governments to facilitate the project by funding the investigations into environment and legislative issues and developing the business case. Enterprise North is confident that this project can be funded in a staged manner largely by the private sector with limited support from government sources. You can see a presentation of this project here https://enterprisenorth.org.au/current-projects/admiralty-island/
- Strategic Connectivity 2050 Project. We encourage the continuous review of the National Land Transport Network (NLTN) and in particular the relationship of this to nationally important intermodal logistic solutions. This is particularly important to our region when read in context with the Cairns Port 2050 Project Additionally we see a need for a proper assessment be done on the priorities for Commonwealth expenditure on the question of the national highway extension in Cairns and question the need and emphasis placed on an extension to the Smithfield roundabout as part of the “proposed” Cairns Ring Road project being championed by others ahead of more pressing city/regional connectivity priorities viz Kuranda Range Road. On the face of it, it would appear that a continuous rolling upgrade of this vital link to the productive Cairns hinterland would provide greater regional economic and social impact. Enterprise North will continue to make the case with the Queensland Government that funding resources for our roads are correctly and dispassionately prioritised. The same comments apply to future funding arrangements under the ten year Roads of Strategic Importance initiative (RoSI) for Northern Australia. The Kuranda Range Road (KRR) is the most significant strategic road in our immediate region. The KRR provides the most direct and efficient link between the city and the regional communities to the west and north. This connection is vital for future urban population growth to our west in the Mareeba Shire as well as the developing agriculture, horticulture and pastoral industries to the west of Cairns and to Cape York and the Gulf of Carpentaria. We see this road as the vital link to the city and the connectivity to Cape
York through the Peninsular Development Road (PDR). Whilst it is accepted that there may be environmental constraints associated with the road by virtue of the Wet Tropics overlay, the Enterprise North position is that these constraints have engineering solutions to them and there needs to be an immediate commencement on works to increase capacity by developing additional passing lanes as well as realignment work to enable B double vehicles to access the range. Enterprise North well recognises the contest for scarce road funding resources and our needs analysis tells us that more and more the growth of our communities will see the KRR adopt the No 1 strategic position for the carriage of people and logistics. Our immediate regional population and economic growth to the west will be centre increasingly in the Mareeba/Atherton/Dimbulah growth corridors as our agricultural and horticultural industries develop and Mareeba plays in increasing logistics hub role to Cape York. This road is vital and necessary for the further development of the Cairns International Airport Airfreight Hub. Additionally, the State Government along with Federal Infrastructure support funding needs to address as a matter of urgency increased rail capacity between Townsville and Cairns to accommodate increased rail freight from Townsville to Cairns with connections to the Admiralty Island Freight Park. The Bruce Highway is at freight capacity and the obvious solution is to transfer any future increases in capacity requirements to rail.
- Cairns Marine Maintenance Facility. Enterprise North supports the previous announcement (2016) by the Federal Government of funding commitments for the establishment of the CMMF but notes with regret the lack of coordinated progress due to the absence of an agreed development plan. It is plainly obvious that the responsibility to coordinate the rollout of this project requires the active participation of Ports North (The landowner) to bring the project to fruition. Cairns has the largest number of registered commercial vessels of any port in Queensland with a growing numbers of tourism passenger vessels, fishing vessels, home ported Australian navy vessels, super yacht visitations, increasing numbers of maintenance and refurbishment contracts with internationally flagged vessels. This industry provides employment opportunities to more than 4,000 people and is a vital economic cog to Cairns city. We are calling on both the State (Ports North) and the Federal Government (Aus Industry) to actively collaborate in funding and delivering suitable infrastructure to ensure Cairns remains internationally competitive in providing maritime sustainment services to a growing customer base.
- HMAS Cairns. Enterprise North will continue to encourage the further development and expansion of this vital Defence facility. There is little doubt we are approaching a period of protracted uncertainty in our international relationships with our neighbours to the North and East. The One Belt, One Road initiative of the PRC along with their activities in the South China Sea, and the skittish behaviour of our Melanesian neighbours in response to this, points to the need to develop infrastructure commensurate with the current and future strategic demands that might lie ahead of us. We will continue our sensible advocacy for appropriate levels of Defence infrastructure to be positioned in Northern Australia. The growth of Defence Assets needs to be incorporated in Cairns Port planning now and we will continue our advocacy for the home porting of new offshore patrol frigates in Cairns and the growth of HMAS Cairns to become the prime strategic naval support base for Northern Australia.
- Nullinga Dam. Enterprise North remains committed to the establishment of major regional bulk water storage infrastructure. The Nullinga Dam project, west of Mareeba, has been central to this discussion for three decades and with the increased population growth bringing on additional urban demand, as well as the rapid development of the tableland agriculture and horticulture industries, this project still remains a priority of ours despite the State and Federal Governments recent reassessment of the project following a recent Commonwaelth funded feasibility and business case study. The major issues with these projects always gets back to the pricing of any off take agreements and the ownership and ongoing operating costs of the end asset. These assets on completion are normally held the State Government. The solutions invariably require some degree of political flexibility to achieve an appropriately suitable outcome. Enterprise North is calling on both the State and Federal Governments to commit to funding 100% of the construction costs of the dam, and given the long lead time from decision to first water (10/12 years), that the project is commenced within two years.