For over a decade, the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning has been investigating industrial land supply in the Cairns region and predict a shortfall in suitable existing industrial land for regionally significant industrial development into the medium to long term.

Having considered economic development opportunities, physical and environmental constraints, environmental and community impacts, and infrastructure requirements, the proposed Cairns South State Development Area (SDA) was announced by the government in July 2017. Public consultation on the proposed SDA was undertaken between July 2017 and August 2017.

The Cairns South SDA (PDF icon 5.1 MB) is located:

  • south of Cairns and north of Gordonvale at Wrights Creek
  • from the Bruce Highway in the west to Mackey Creek in the east
  • from Frances Road in the north to Hall Road in the south.

This area includes land suitable for intermodal/freight related industry and regionally significant industry, including an opportunity for development associated with the government’s priority industries of biofutures, advanced manufacturing and defence. Significant land areas have also been identified for ongoing rural purposes to support cane supply to the Mulgrave Mill and for environmental management.

Following consideration of the submissions received through the public consultation process and engagement with stakeholders, including the Cairns Regional Council and MSF Sugar, the government announced on 25 October 2018 that it will declare the SDA to support the future growth and diversification of the Cairns economy.

Further information about the SDA is included in the Cairns South SDA Fact Sheet – October 2018 (PDF icon 2.9 MB) and the documents below.

Development scheme

Following declaration, the Coordinator-General will prepare a draft development scheme, which will be subject to public consultation.

While a development scheme for an SDA functions in a similar manner to a local government planning scheme, it is specific to the SDA. It outlines the types of development regulated and the criteria which the Coordinator-General uses to assess and decide applications and requests for development in a SDA.

Further information

For further information on the Cairns South SDA contact the SDA Division on 1800 001 048 or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..