Redevelopment of Cairns Convention Centre has today reached its next major milestone, with a ground-breaking ceremony of the expansion phase of the $176 million project.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the expansion was set to deliver a major boost to the Far North’s economy when economies around the world were impacted by the global pandemic.
“Queensland is good to go, because Queenslanders have done such a great job responding to the health crisis and that’s why we’re able to deliver our economic recovery plan,” the Premier said.
“By expanding Cairns’ award-winning Convention Centre, we’re not only providing vital infrastructure jobs but we’re delivering a world-class venue which will draw an extra 20,000 visitors to the region annually.
“That’s an additional $50 million injected into the local economy each year.”
Cairns MP Michael Healy said the start of expansion works complements refurbishment already underway at the site.
“The fact this significant project will be delivered by a predominantly local workforce demonstrates how serious the Palaszczuk Labor Government is about helping Cairns unite and recover from COVID-19,” Mr Healy said.
“There will be 570 people working on this site between now and final completion of the expansion in 2022.
“It’s our Buy Queensland procurement policy that is guaranteeing a firm target of ensuring at least 85 per cent of those tradies are from Cairns.
“Today 223 of the 256 workers inducted on site call Cairns home, that’s an 87 per cent local workforce.”
Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said the Convention Centre could be in for a hat-trick for world’s best convention centre.
“It’s not hard to figure out why the Tropical North is a world-famous conference destination,” he said.
“Key features of this new phase include a large undercover, tropically planted drop-off and entry forecourt, an expanded main entry lobby, a 410-seat plenary lecture space, three 120-seat meeting rooms and new exhibition space for up to 30 display booths.
“With works starting today on the new expansion, we’ve got local tradies delivering the world’s best for Cairns, which we’re hoping will catapult it to World’s Best Congress Centre for the third time.”
Mr de Brenni said the upgrades to the existing convention centre were on track to be completed by February 2021.
“While upgrade works are ongoing here at the Convention Centre, the Taipans are on track to start their season in the purpose-built temporary facility in Portsmith.
Janet Hamilton, General Manager for operator ASM Global, said the Cairns Convention Centre team is excited about the project getting underway.
“The new expansion provides more flexibility for our clients and will set a benchmark for hosting international and national conferences,” Ms Hamilton said.
“The Centre can host a conference in the new expansion for 500 delegates or the entire Centre can comfortably host 2,500 delegates.
“This flexibility allows us to host two events concurrently, which is a game changer.
“The new spaces will have an abundance of natural light, and stunning views, combined with our state-of-the-art technology and fresh contemporary menus, giving delegates and guests a unique event experience.
“The expanded Centre will have an important role to play in helping the Cairns tourism industry get back on its feet post Covid-19.”
For more information on the Cairns Convention Centre project visit www.hpw.qld.gov.au/about/initiatives/cairnsconventioncentre