Plotting a course to recovery and prosperity

MEDIA RELEASE

Published: 04 June 2020. (Note: information was correct at date of publication but may have since been changed or superseded.)

A map to plot Cairns’ course to economic recovery and prosperity has received strong local support from all three levels of government.

The Local Leadership Committee (LLC), which includes Mayor Bob Manning, Member for Cairns Michael Healy, and Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, today endorsed the Pathway to Recovery from COVID-19 document.

The document outlines the need for all three levels of government to work collaboratively to support the region’s economic recovery through a four-phase recovery plan.

“This is an unprecedented crisis, one which has affected the whole world,” Cr Manning said.

“Cairns’ distance from metropolitan centres and its reliance on tourism and aviation means it is likely to be one of the hardest parts of the country and recovery will take longer.

“While the outlook is somewhat daunting, this is a time to not only look at survival, but at opportunities to strengthen our economy so that we not only recover, but build for greater future prosperity.”

Mr Entsch added, “This document sets out very clearly our roadmap to recovery and what’s needed for our region.

“For this to be successful we must all keep working together to ensure it’s delivered.”

The recovery plan for Cairns will follow four distinct phases: Survive > Stimulate > Recover > Thrive.

  • Survive: The extension of JobKeeper, State Government support measures (payroll tax relief and electricity support), along with an immediate increase in intrastate aviation capacity will all be critical to short term business survival in Cairns.
  • Stimulate: The fast tracking of existing capital works projects (Cairns Convention Centre, Bruce Highway upgrades, Wangetti Trail etc), along with the progression of other major projects with State and Federal government support, such as the new CQUniversity city campus, Cairns Gallery Precinct and HMAS Cairns upgrade. Re-establishment of domestic aviation connectivity, investment in destination marketing and the easing of interstate travel restrictions will also be critical.
  • Recover: Planning for the long term economic recovery of Cairns is already well underway with collaboration from all levels of government, business and the community.
  • Thrive: The first three phases of recovery will ensure there is a strong foundation for Cairns’ long term economic growth, prosperity and resilience. A return to the ‘status quo’ is not the goal, but rather a reimagined economy that taps into Cairns’ unique competitive advantages and global macro trends.

“This approach will not only see the Cairns economy return to the position of strength it was in ‘pre-COVID’, it will also build a more diverse and resilient economy that will support sustained economic growth and prosperity in the long term,” Cr Manning said.

“However, critical to our recovery will be the reestablishment of domestic aviation capacity and connectivity, coupled with investment in destination marketing and the accelerated relaxation of domestic travel restrictions.

“Also vital to ensure the survival of businesses will be extending the Federal Government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy beyond September, with a stepped ‘phase out’ of this program over the period to March 2021.”

Mr Healy said it was vitality important that the three levels of government work together.

“I look forward to contributing towards rebuilding industries, rebuilding jobs and rebuilding the economic development of our city and in doing so I will be taking these and other initiatives to Brisbane with the support of my fellow parliamentary colleagues, Minister Craig Crawford, Member for Barron River; Cynthia Liu, Member for Cook and the Speaker Curtis Pitt, Member for Mulgrave,” he said.

The Cairns Pathway to Recovery from COVID-19 is supported by a number of organisations, including Advance Cairns, Cairns Chamber of Commerce, Tropical Tourism North Queensland and Regional Development Australia – Tropical North, who are active members of the Cairns Economic Response and Recovery Sub-Committee and provide valuable input to the city’s recovery planning.

The Cairns Pathway to Recovery from COVID-19 is available online at: https://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/council/covid19/recovery

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Last updated: 18 June 2020