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Strengthening Far North Queensland

Far North Queensland banner

This vast and economically diverse region includes the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage listed areas. Far North Queensland covers 272,215 square kilometres over 21 local government areas, from Cassowary Coast in the south to the Torres Strait Islands in the north.

Population

292,000 (2020), expected to increase to 378,000 by 2041.

Employment

Unemployment 6.1% (participation rate 67.3%) based on Cairns SA4 (January 2021).

Strengths

  • largest region, covering almost 20% of Queensland
  • only place in the world where two World Heritage listed areas meet
  • direct international air and sea access
  • proximity to Asian markets
  • popular superyacht destination
  • three major slipways and world’s largest travel lift, with capacity to lift 1120 tonnes
  • HMAS Cairns naval base being upgraded to homeport new naval vessels
  • two universities in Cairns - James Cook University and CQUniversity
  • abundant fertile agricultural land and rainfall
  • mineral wealth and natural resources
  • established local supply chains
  • innovative culture
  • rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage
  • resilient and diverse economy
  • affordable housing

Main industries

  • agriculture (seafood, tropical fruits, dairy and livestock)
  • aviation
  • construction
  • defence
  • education and training
  • health and research
  • manufacturing / engineering
    • transport equipment manufacturing
    • food production
    • primary metal and metal production
    • fabricated metal production
    • machinery and equipment
    • manufacturing hub - marine, aviation and food manufacturing incubator
  • marine (including Superyacht industry)
  • tourism, arts and culture, including strong and indigenous tourism

Key projects

  • Bruce Highway Southern Access Corridor
  • Cairns Convention Centre Expansion
  • Cairns Hospital Emergency Department expansion
  • Cairns Marine Precinct Infrastructure Investment
  • Cairns Mental Health Unit redevelopment
  • Cairns Police Facility upgrade
  • Cairns Ring Road
  • Cairns Western Arterial Road duplication
  • Far North Queensland Health and Innovation Precinct
  • HMAS Cairns upgrades
  • Smithfield Bypass
  • Wangetti Trail

Find out more in the FNQ Major Projects Pipeline booklet (PDF icon 16.8 MB).

Local content activities

View all upcoming events and opportunities in the region on the events page including:

  • workshops
  • mentoring services
  • industry briefings supporting businesses at all stages of project supply chains

Further information

Find out more about this diverse region or contact our Far North Queensland regional offices.

Last updated: Monday, Jul 19, 2021