A $30m investment by the Queensland government is seeking to deliver two new wharves for the Port of Cairns.

The scheme also seeks to build a business case to grow Cairns as a centre for maintaining and repairing large defence vessels.

The announcement is a major initiative of the Cairns/FNQ Regional Recovery Action Plan to support economic recovery.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the money would help the Far North recovery from pandemic recession.

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“Working with Ports North, the construction of these new wharves in Cairns will expand the capacity to carry out in-water maintenance on vessels used by the Australian Defence Force and Australian Border Force,” the Premier said.

“The funding will also cover a business case to identify how we can build on this initial investment and grow as a centre for large vessel repair work.”

Treasurer Cameron Dick said in addition to the maintenance growth, shipbuilding could return to Cairns, with a separate study into the possibility of building vessels at the Cairns Marine Precinct.

“The Cairns Reshoring Shipbuilding Project business case will investigate the manufacture of commercial vessels required for servicing the region that would bring more new jobs to the city,” the Treasurer said.

“There is an existing skilled work force, contractor base and infrastructure within the Cairns Marine Precinct which has a legacy of significant ship building in the city over many years.”

Ports North Chairman Russell Beer said it was doing a 30-year Master Plan for the Ports of Cairns and Mourilyan and the planning process was well underway.

“This work will be vital to ensure Cairns is well positioned to take advantage of future marine maintenance, repair and overhaul work,” Mr Beer said.

“Ports North is working closely with the Queensland Government and a range of stakeholders including the Department of Defence in Canberra and the three Cairns based shipyards to firm up options which have arisen from the Master Planning work done to date.”

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