Phase two of the Cairns Convention Centre redevelopment has officially begun, with a sod-turning ceremony held at the Tropical North Queensland site on 2 September.
Following the ceremony, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described the expansion as a “signature infrastructure project” that will set Cairns up for the future.
A total $176 million will be invested into the convention centre project, which will see existing facilities refurbished and an extra 10,000 square metres of meeting and exhibition space added.
Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said it’s a “landmark project for the Far North” that will set the region up for “decades and decades to come”.
“As we all know, convention business is big business and of course when we’re able to welcome people from interstate and overseas again we’re going to see an opportunity to have two events happening simultaneously,” he said.
“We’re going to ensure we’re going to get bigger and better conventions and clearly the tourism benefits to our local economy are enormous, particularly to our local accommodation houses who are going to be filling their rooms once we get the numbers of people through.”
Cairns Convention Centre has reached the next stage in its $176 million redevelopment with the expansion phase kicking off today. @Curtis_Pitt_MP @MichaelHealyMP @MickdeBrenni #qldjobs pic.twitter.com/tEBBBD9eoT
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) September 1, 2020
Stage one refurbishment works are scheduled for completion in February 2021, meanwhile stage two will now commence, building a new exhibition space, a flat-floor plenary space with capacity for up to 410 people and three, 118-pax meting rooms that can also be combined into one.
Phase two will also include the brand new Trinity level, including the 500-pax Trinity Room, a large pre-function space and an outdoor terrace with views over the Trinity Inlet.
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said prior to the expansion, the Cairns Convention Centre was generating some $80 million for the city each year, which is expected to increase to $130 million following the project’s completion.
“We are a tourism city and events are a key part of that, so to expand and upgrade the infrastructure is a significant investment in the future of the city,” he said.
New-look centre a ‘game changer’
Cairns Convention Centre general manager Janet Hamilton said the expansion will offer more flexibility for hosting international and national conferences.
“The centre can host a conference in the new expansion for 500 delegates or the entire centre can comfortably host 2,500 delegates,” she said.
Hamilton said the new-look centre will play a vital role in helping the Cairns tourism industry get back on its feet post-pandemic.
“This flexibility allows us to host two events concurrently, which is a game changer,” she said.
“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.”