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Cairns Marine Precinct

Project Overview

To deliver infrastructure investment in the Cairns Marine Precinct (CMP) to capitalise on emerging defence and other marine industry opportunities and investigate reshoring shipbuilding to Cairns.

The CMP and the marine industry more broadly are of major economic importance to Cairns and Far North Queensland.  The growth of the sector is key to the diversification of the region and will be influenced by the maintenance and sustainment opportunities from the Royal Australian Navy.

The $30 million investment by the Queensland Government will fund new infrastructure including two wharves and the costs of the connection of services including power and water to the new wharves.

The construction of these wharves in Cairns will expand its capacity to carry out in-water maintenance on vessels used by the Australian Defence Force and Australian Border Force.

The funding also supported a business case which identified how to build on this initial investment. The Queensland Government has a further committed $150 million to the Cairns Marine Precinct as a result of the business case.

Improved infrastructure and Port upgrades are particularly important in the current context of an increasing focus on the geo-political environment in the Indo-Pacific region.


  • $28 million to increase common user wharfage, develop land and undertake service upgrades to support increased in-water sustainment of naval and other vessels;
  • $2 million to develop the Cairns Marine Precinct Infrastructure Investment detailed business case (DBC) – completed in December 2021
  • $150 million for a major expansion to the CMP through a new marine common user MRO facility in a move to capture more large defence and maritime contracts. This will include a 5000-tonne shiplift, allowing ships of up to 120 metres in length to be repaired and maintained on three hardstand areas, as well as two facilities for blasting and painting vessels and more capacity for wet berths.

The Queensland Government will now seek a cost-sharing arrangement with the Australian Government to fully fund the $360 million facility. For more information contact our Far North Queensland Regional Office.

Jobs supported

  • estimated at 150 upon completion of the CMP expansion

Benefits to the region

Pre COVID-19, the Cairns economy was in a relatively strong position. Gross Regional Product growth was above comparative Queensland and Australian levels and unemployment was below both the state and national level.  However, the downturn of tourism and export sectors caused by COVID-19 has had a severe impact on Cairns.

In order to recover from current job losses and mitigate against future economic shocks and diversify the Cairns economy, the CMP and broader marine industry needs to be supported to leverage ongoing defence and homeland security maritime operations, maintenance and upgrades.

Last updated: 18 May 2022