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Strengthening Far North Queensland

Far North Queensland banner

This vast and economically diverse region is Queensland’s gateway to the Asia-Pacific. 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. It includes the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage listed areas.

The Far North Queensland regional office is one of 11 regional offices across Queensland helping businesses to mature, grow and invest.

Support is facilitated via  one-on-one interactions, information, presentations and workshops (both online and face-to-face).

A number of pre-recorded sessions are also available on how to promote your businesses’ products and services to others.

A strong capital program of private, government, mining and renewable energy projects will be delivered in the Far North Queensland region, find out more about Far North Queensland Major Projects Pipeline.

Population

292,943 (ABS 2021), expected to increase to 378,000 by 2041.

Employment

Unemployment 4.6% (participation rate 68.2%) based on Cairns SA4 (July 2022).

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
  • close proximity to Asian and Pacific markets
  • popular tourist and superyacht destination
  • three major slipways and the Pacific’s largest Mobile Boat Hoist, with capacity to lift 1,120 tonnes
  • HMAS Cairns naval base being upgraded to homeport new naval vessels
  • innovative culture
  • two universities in Cairns - James Cook University and CQUniversity
  • home to the Great Barrier Reef International Marine College and Cairns Aviation Skills Centre
  • popular location for international students for short and long-term stay
  • abundant fertile agricultural land and rainfall
  • mineral wealth and natural resources
  • established local supply chains
  • vibrant arts and culture scene, including rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage
  • resilient and diverse economy
  • affordable housing
  • 70 national parks

Main industries

  • construction
  • manufacturing – top five (Remplan 2021 R1)
    • food product manufacturing
    • transport equipment and parts manufacturing
    • metal and metal product manufacturing
    • technical equipment and appliance manufacturing
    • sawmill, wood and paper product manufacturing
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • mining
  • health care and social assistance
  • tourism, arts and culture, including strong Indigenous tourism
  • education and training
  • defence
  • marine (including superyacht industry)
  • Aviation and aerospace

Funded 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
  • CQUniversity new campus
  • JCU’s Cairns Tropical Enterprise Centre in the Far North Queensland Health and Innovation Precinct
  • HMAS Cairns upgrades
  • Mount Peter water project
  • Peninsula Developmental Road
  • Thursday Island hospital redevelopment
  • Wangetti Trail

State Development Areas:

Far North Queensland Industry Breakfast February 2024

The FNQ Industry Breakfast is your chance to learn about current and upcoming projects and related supply chain opportunities in the region.

This revamped twice yearly event is designed for business owners and industry professionals who want to discover new opportunities for their business in the Far North.

Presentations from event

Local content activities

View all upcoming events and opportunities in the region on the events page including, workshops, industry briefings and forums.

Further information

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

Last updated: 22 Feb 2024