Economic response and recovery

A pathway to recovery from COVID-19

In close collaboration with the Cairns COVID-19 Economic Response and Recovery Sub-Committee, Council has developed the Cairns Pathway to Recovery from COVID-19.  The document summarises the economic impacts of COVID-19 and sets out a four phase plan for economic recovery.

You can download the document here ( PDF, 2.09 MB ) or by clicking on the cover image above.

Economic impact of COVID-19 on Cairns

Council has commissioned independent economic advisory firm, .id Consulting Pty Ltd, to analyse the anticipated impacts of COVID-19 on the Cairns economy.

Download and read a copy of the report ( PDF, 1.52 MB ).

Key findings include:

  • Pre COVID-19, the Cairns economy was strong with Gross Regional Product (GRP) growth above Queensland and Australian averages, and unemployment well below both the state and national levels.
  • Cairns will be one of the most severely affected regions in Australia because its economy is heavily reliant on visitors, tourism and other export sectors.
  • GRP for the June 2020 quarter is expected to drop by $386M (16%) with unemployment forecast to exceed 12%, significantly higher than both the state and national levels.
  • The re-establishment of domestic aviation connectivity and capacity into Cairns is critically important, coupled with investment in destination marketing to fill that capacity. This is what will be required to return the city’s service population to ‘pre-COVID’ levels and get the local economy moving again.

Cairns business survival initiatives identified

Business leaders in Cairns have developed a suite of 10 key initiatives for consideration by Government (Federal, State and Local) in response to the unfolding economic effects from the spread of COVID-19.

The initiatives have been developed by the Economic Response and Recovery Sub-Committee (ERRSC), a group chaired by Cairns Regional Council's Chief Executive Officer, and comprising representatives of business and peak bodies, including Advance Cairns, Tourism Tropical North Queensland, the Cairns Chamber of Commerce, Cairns Airport, Ports North and others.

The purpose of the ERRSC is to ensure the unique situation, needs and issues of industry and businesses in Cairns are captured and communicated to all levels of Government throughout the crisis.

The ERRSC has also established processes to engage with business and industry more broadly.

The immediate focus of the ERRSC has been to identify the key initiatives required to support business survival – making sure that businesses who have been adversely impacted by travel bans, social distancing and other measures are able to survive the crisis and be in a position to recommence/re-escalate operations once it has passed.

The ERRSC reports regularly to the Cairns Local Leadership Committee (LLC), which is made up of elected representatives: Federal Member for Leichhardt, the Hon Warren Entsch; State Member for Cairns, Michael Healy; and Cairns Mayor Cr Bob Manning.

10 key business survival initiatives

The ERRSC report outlining the recommended 10 key Business Survival Initiatives ( PDF, 0.64 MB ) was presented to this local leadership group on Friday 27 March 2020 and has been distributed through relevant channels of the three levels of Government for consideration. Pleasingly, action has already been taken on a number of the initiatives identified.Council is maintaining and regularly updating a Status Update Report   ( PDF, 0.55 MB )which tracks action that has been taken on each of the 10 key Business Survival Initiatives.

Preliminary report on stimulus initiatives

The ERRSC has also prepared a Preliminary Report on Stimulus Initiatives ( PDF, 0.18 MB ) into the recommended projects, policy and programs needed to support economic recovery and job creation in the Cairns region over the short to medium term and in response to the impacts of COVID-19.  This report has been provided to the LLC and will also be distributed through other relevant channels to ensure it is given due consideration by all levels of Government.

The ERRSC welcomes suggestions, ideas and input which can be submitted direct to Council’s Economic Development Team at:

Last updated: 04 June 2020