Cairns pollies outline priority projects
PURSUING more Asian air links, reviving the heart of the Cairns CBD, improving health care and learning from past mistakes are among the priorities outlined by Far Northern politicians this year.
Civic leaders say the region needs to continue the momentum built in the latter part of 2012, during which key industries such as tourism and construction showed signs of recovering.
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said the council would continue developing ways to stimulate more investment in the region, with a focus on helping forge more air links with China and Singapore.
The council would also finalise plans to revitalise Lake St and City Place.
"This includes settlement of a five-year capital expenditure program and cost-sharing arrangements with the State Government, and possibly the Federal Government, for projects such as the development of a performing arts centre, additional exhibition space for the convention centre, a multi-level car park and a commercial development," Cr Manning said.
He said he also would continue lobbying for the expansion of HMAS Cairns, a project he believed would bring enormous economic and social benefits to the region.
Senator Jan McLucas said she also would explore more ways to lift investor confidence in the region by working as "a unified community", citing the loss of $40 million in federal funding towards the Cairns Entertainment Precinct late last year as an example of what to avoid.
"We cannot repeat the lost opportunities for major infrastructure development as we did in 2012," she said.
"We need to re-establish Cairns as a great place to invest."
Senator McLucas said she would also concentrate on building the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
State member for Cairns Gavin King said improving job and economic opportunities would be priorities.
"I want to continue the economic momentum that has built up over the second half of 2012 by bringing more events to Cairns, growing links with China and Papua New Guinea, and further developing our city's training, skills, port and maritime, aviation and sports business sectors," he said.
Tablelands Mayor Rosa Lee Long said she would complete her council's amalgamation process, "with or without the former Mareeba Shire Council".
She would also work on keeping rates at a low level.
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Focused: Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said the council would develop ways to stimulate investment in the region, with a focus on forging air links with China and Singapore.