Cairns is the capital of Tropical North Queensland, the largest SA4 region in northern Australia and strategically positioned as the international gateway to the Pacific, Asia and beyond.

As home to two of the world’s most significant natural assets (the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics rainforest), coupled with environmental advantages and strong links to the First Peoples, Cairns is well positioned to continue to grow as an internationally renowned tourist destination.

While tourism remains an important economic contributor, the Cairns economy has evolved over time to become one of Australia’s most diverse local government economies, and we are in a position to further build upon this diversity by becoming a leader in emerging green economic opportunities as countries around the world head towards net zero emissions by 2050.

Cairns is also strategically positioned to support the Federal Government’s Northern Australia agenda and has an important role to play in alleviating the pressures being experienced in some of the nation’s metropolitan cities as a result of population growth and migration.

However, to enable Cairns and the broader region’s enormous potential to be realised, Federal and State Government investment in enabling policy and in infrastructure delivery, is critical.

Water is our most valuable resource and for any region to have sustainable growth, access to a secure water supply is essential.

This is why the Cairns Water Security – Stage 1 project is Council’s number 1 advocacy priority, recognising the need to provide water security for a growing community and economy.

As a Council we are calling on State and Federal support to fund this $215 million proposal, which is less expensive and has a lighter environmental footprint than a dam, and also avoids potential future conflict with the agricultural needs on the Tablelands.

Cairns seaport is a critical enabler for the city, as well as being strategically located from a naval, marine logistics and tourism perspective. There is a need to deliver ongoing infrastructure investment into the Cairns Marine Precinct to capitalise on emerging defence and other marine industry opportunities.

Strengthening the nation’s relationship with PNG and the Pacific has been identified as one of Australia’s highest foreign policy priorities.

Cairns is best positioned to support a number of the Federal Government’s initiatives and activities in this regard.

Perhaps no Federal Government initiative would do more to strengthen the economic, social and cultural connections between Australia and PNG, than advocating for a PNG team, to be based in both Cairns and PNG to be included in the National Rugby League.

Cairns is the closest Australian city to Port Moresby and with a large expat community, the city has strong economic, cultural and social connections with PNG. By leveraging our relationship with PNG, sport can be a useful tool to strengthen the economic, social and cultural connections between Australia and PNG.

While Council plays a critical role in shaping the future of the city, the region’s resilience and future prosperity is, in part, dependent on Cairns receiving its fair share of investment from both the State and Federal Governments.