Supporting the future growth and diversification of the Far North Queensland Economy

Supporting the future growth and diversification of the Far North Queensland Economy
department of state development, manu­fac­tur­ing, infra­struc­ture, local government and planning queensland
CDM Smith Australia has provided long term support to the Queensland Government Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, with studies required to identify and activate land for industrial development in the Cairns Region.

The Queensland Government is focused on driving jobs and economic growth in the Cairns and Far North Queensland region and has studied the availability of existing industrial land to see if it meets the need for future regionally significant industrial development. Their commitment is to improve the sustainability of Far North Queensland through increased employment opportunities and economic diversification.

Cairns is a key hub for industrial services and supplies to and from Far North Queensland and is at the effective end of the Bruce Highway and North Coast Rail line - both key arteries for incoming and outgoing freight, however there has been a shortage of appropriately zoned land for significant industrial development in the region.

CDM Smith completed studies to first identify a need for new industrial land and then the most appropriate location to accommodate future development. The outcome of these studies was the declaration of the Cairns South State Development Area (CSSDA) over an original 856 ha of land south of Cairns and a subsequent variation to expand the area to 1,159 ha by inclusion of land around the Mulgrave Mill at Gordonvale. The area will provide an opportunity for future regionally significant industrial development and preserve land for the long-term supply. It will provide a unique opportunity to diversify the economy through industrial development in the Cairns region, creating jobs and also strengthening the wider Far North Queensland economy.

To identify the preferred area, CDM Smith undertook a multi-criteria analysis which considered economic development opportunities, physical and environmental constraints, environmental and community impacts, and infrastructure requirements. A key component of these investigations was detailing the baseline infrastructure network within and surrounding the area, identifying infrastructure constraints to development e.g. capacity limitations and opportunities to utilise or augment the infrastructure system to provide for economic stimulating developing in the SDA.

As agricultural land use is the main activity within and surrounding the SDA, CDM Smith considered a number of factors prior to identifying this area. By analysing these factors we identified potential benefits to and from this area as well as potential impacts on existing agricultural land use, we also analysed existing conditions and assessment of positive and negative social, economic and environmental impacts.

The government wishes to strike the right balance between the interests of stakeholders, including landholders, proponents and the community. With that in mind, CDM Smith supported stakeholder consultation with government and service providers to first source necessary data/information on the infrastructure systems, understand forward work programs, jointly confirm appropriate solutions to future gaps (e.g. sewage treatment and power supply) and identify opportunities to leverage off the SDA and associated infrastructure. CDM Smith continues to support the Queensland Government through the multi-year process with ongoing studies to establish baseline environmental conditions prior to industrial development and supporting the transition into a regionally significant industrial development area.



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