Far North Queensland received a major boost today with the opening of the new $13.6 million Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the new terminal would be a much needed shot in the arm for the local economy.
“Backed by this substantial piece of infrastructure the local cruise ship industry will set a course for even more success,” Ms Bligh said.
“First impressions count and arriving passengers will be dazzled by this terminal.
“There is a great mix of old and new. We’ve restored the heritage-listed wharf shed and even the original rail tracks are featured in the redevelopment.
“The clock tower and bronze bell, which have a special association with the Cairns community having functioned as the city’s and wharf’s timepiece since 1948, have also taken pride of place in the new terminal.
“We wanted a terminal that locals can be proud of and that’s what has been achieved,” Ms Bligh said.
Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said the Queensland Government had invested $11.2 million towards the $13.6 million project which had created over 84 jobs during construction.
“The cruise ship industry is vitally important to Cairns and Queensland with the number of liner visits to the region doubling in the last four years,” Ms Nolan said.
“The Queensland Government and Ports North have worked together to deliver this terminal to ensure Cairns can cater for this booming industry.”
Construction on Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal began in January 2010 and was finalised this month.
Cairns MP Desley Boyle said the Terminal was a double winner for Cairns because it would also serve as a function and event centre.
“The terminal can hold about 600 people for sit down dinners and 900 for stand up cocktail functions.
“Guests will be able to spill out onto the breezeway and decked areas and take in the breathtaking views over Trinity Inlet.
“Whether it’s for art fairs, trade shows, weddings or formal balls the people of Cairns will really enjoy this spectacular waterfront venue.
“What’s more it’s close to the CBD, the Convention Centre, major hotels and the Casino,” Ms Boyle said.
Barron River MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism Steve Wettenhall said the terminal, which would take ships up to 280 metres in length, would boost the local economy and provide more jobs through increased tourism for the area.
“Cruise ship visits in 2009-10 contributed $12.1 million to the economy and supported the equivalent of 123 full-time jobs.
“This new facility will really help the cruise ship sector reach its full potential.
“Up to 600 passengers will disembark and spend money every time we welcome a new ship in,” Mr Wettenhall said.
Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the completion of the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal demonstrated the Bligh Government’s commitment to the region.
“Big projects like this have really helped Cairns through the hard times.
“The community event held in the evening is a great way to involve local residents – this is about celebrating one of the biggest infrastructure projects to hit Cairns,” he said.
Ports North Chair Dr Ken Chapman said the new Cruise Terminal was a critical part of Ports North’s drive to support jobs, investment and economic development in Cairns and region.
“The Port has always been a critical and essential contributor to the economic strength and development of the city and region as well as an employment generator,” Dr Chapman said.
“This new facility coupled with recently announced $20 million capital works investment in new projects, as well as with the major investigation into PNG shipping opportunities, are about ensuring that we continue to play our part in future economic development of the City and region”.
Visits to Cairns from cruise ships increased from 21 in 2004-05 to 43 in 2008-09.