$20m for Cairns wharves to welcome bigger cruise ships

The Port of Cairns’ wharves are set for a major makeover, paving the way for cruise ships up to 300m in length to dock at the far north shipping hub.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey and Member for Cairns Michael Healy today announced a $20 million contract to modernise the port’s six wharves, which were built more than 100 years ago.

It marks a major milestone for the third and final stage of the Palaszczuk Government’s $127 million Cairns Shipping Development Project.

“This is about securing new opportunities for Cairns and an additional 2,700 jobs in industries like tourism by 2031,” Mr Bailey said.

The upgrading of wharves 1-6 will complement the widening and deepening of the shipping channel which is currently being dredged.

A new concrete jetty will be constructed along the front of wharf 6 to replace the decayed timber wharf structure with a portion of the old structure to be revealed and retained for heritage and interpretive purposes.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said it was another win for the region, after last week announcing the far north had the lowest unemployment rate in the state.

“More than 800 people have played a role in bringing together the Palaszczuk Government’s Cairns Shipping Development project,” Mr Healy said.

“Once complete it’ll mean more ships, more visitors, more tourism and business opportunities for the region.”

The contract has been awarded to Austral Construction, with many local suppliers being tapped on the shoulder to help in the build.

The wharf upgrade project is expected to be completed by late April 2020, weather permitting.

Austral Construction Operations Director, Aaron Turner said “Austral were excited to be part of such a major project for Cairns and welcome the opportunity to contribute to the local economy.”

“Austral Construction has nominated numerous local suppliers - except where specialist items are not available - which is the flow on we want for local business and job opportunities” Mr Turner said.

Austral Construction was previously involved with works for the Navy and Sugar Wharf and as a major subcontractor on previous Ports North projects such as the Marina Wave Barrier and Reef Fleet Marina Finger Wharves.

Ports North engaged heritage and wharf design experts to develop an innovative design that retains the majority of the existing heritage wharves 1-5 by installing a series of independent dolphin structures inset into the existing heritage listed wharves. The design has received all heritage approvals and is in keeping with the existing heritage wharf sheds.

Ports North Chairman, Russell Beer said “Once again we have hit another exciting milestone in this Project and are now well and truly over the hump, and the benefits of this Project for Cairns are starting to filter through.”

“The supply of steel piles worth $3.5 million for the wharf works was also recently awarded to J Steel Australasia Pty Ltd and production is well under way,” Mr Beer said.

Undertaking a wharf upgrade project while maintaining ongoing use of the wharf and adjacent uses is a challenging project and Ports North would like to acknowledge all the assistance to date from our port users who have been very accommodating and supportive of the project.



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