Uni plan leads COVID-19 recovery push

CQUNIVERSITY'S push to build a new $50 million campus in the CBD has topped a wishlist of projects to revive the economy as Cairns crawls back from the coronavirus cliff.

The Economic Response and Recovery Sub-Committee (ERRSC) has finished its preliminary report on crucial stimulus initiatives to help the region recover in the short and medium term.

The report backs policies to expand aviation and tourism attraction funding as well as nine chief infrastructure projects.

The Economic Response and Recovery Sub-Committee has finished its preliminary report on crucial stimulus initiatives to help Cairns recover. PICTURE: TTNQ
The Economic Response and Recovery Sub-Committee has finished its preliminary report on crucial stimulus initiatives to help Cairns recover. PICTURE: TTNQ

An immediate $100 million reserve to buy land for the proposed Cairns University Hospital, and funding for the long-awaited $40 million Cairns Gallery Precinct rounded out the list's top three slots.

CQU is battling its own coronavirus difficulties after losing more than $100 million of its annual income with hundreds of forced redundancies expected over the coming weeks. However its plan for a purpose-built campus to cater for 2500-plus students in the Cairns city centre has taken pole position on the group's hit list.

"Community and industry engagement will be the defining philosophy of the new campus, with an 'open-door' campus model being employed," the report states.

Cairns CBD and Esplanade aerial image. PICTURE: TTNQ
Cairns CBD and Esplanade aerial image. PICTURE: TTNQ

"This will further help to engage local students from low socio-economic and/or disadvantaged backgrounds - a student base of which CQUniversity outperforms every other Australian university in terms of enrolment proportion and student support.

"But most importantly, this permanent new campus would galvanise Cairns' identity as an agile, innovative two-university city with a highly skilled, professionalised workforce.

"This permanent new campus will give CQUniversity the security it needs to invest further in education in Cairns."

The ERRSC is chaired by Cairns Regional Council's chief executive John Andrejic and includes representatives of business and peak bodies including Advance Cairns, Tourism Tropical North Queensland, the Cairns Chamber of Commerce, Cairns Airport, Ports North and other organisations.

The report will go before today's council meeting.

 

INFRASTRUCTURE LIST

CQUniversity new city centre campus

Cairns University Hospital land buy

Cairns Gallery Precinct

Stage 2 of the CQUniversity Asia Pacific Aviation Hub

Wangetti Trail construction

HMAS Cairns upgrade

Cairns Marine Maintenance Precinct development

Cairns Esplanade dining precinct

Northern Beaches Leisure Trail

Originally published as Uni plan leads COVID-19 recovery push


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