The Australian Government will invest $10 million towards the Cairns Gallery Precinct project to ensure the world-class attraction becomes a reality.
The project will include the design of a new world-class Indigenous Art Gallery as well as transforming and connecting three heritage-listed buildings in the precinct.
The three heritage-listed buildings include the Cairns Art Gallery, the Old Court House and the former Mulgrave Shire Council offices.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the precinct focuses on celebrating and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture, while creating opportunities for cultural tourism.
“The Australian Government has committed $100 million over two years to fund projects in regional Australia under the Regional Recovery Partnerships program,” Mr McCormack said.
“We know our regions have been hit hard by the pandemic which is why it is more important than ever that all levels of government work together to rapidly deliver jobs, generate economic recovery and drive tourism-related opportunities.”
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the precinct’s design will be a bold and iconic statement.
He said the project will provide a vibrant and expansive arts precinct showcasing international and domestic touring exhibitions as well as contemporary local and indigenous art.
“During construction, the project is expected to generate $60 million for Cairns businesses and estimated to create more than 30 construction jobs,” Mr Entsch said.
“Once operational, the Cairns Gallery Precinct is expected to inject more than $20 million into the economy each year and support 90 jobs.
“This project is critical as we continue our economic recovery following the pandemic.
“Furthermore, this world-class precinct will be a major driver for both domestic and international visitors to our city and region.
“I have absolutely no doubt this precinct will become one of Cairns’ leading attractions and will complement other world-class tourism-based projects under construction like the Wangetti Trail.
“I want to thank Cairns Regional Council, and in particular Mayor Manning, for having the vision and determination to take the lead in delivering this magnificent project for our city.”
Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning said the funding would allow council to proceed with the next phase of this project, the restoration of the former Mulgrave Shire building, which would complement the recently refurbished Court House and the Cairns Gallery.
He said council would also commit $10 million towards the project’s overall $30m cost.
“I would like to thank the Federal Government for their support in this important project, which will deliver untold economic, social and cultural benefits to our community,” Cr Manning said.
“When complete, the Gallery Precinct will provide us with a number of unique quality art spaces that will attract national and international exhibitions and also showcase the works of our region’s best artists – and we have no shortage of them.
“Importantly, it will provide, for the first time, dedicated places in which to highlight our talented indigenous artists – not only here but all the way into Cape York and the Torres Strait – and the unique artforms they create.
“This exposure to the national and global stage will drive demand for authentic indigenous art, which will increase the opportunity for career pathways and be an inspiration for our youth, especially our indigenous youth, to pursue careers in the arts.”
Regional Recovery Partnerships was established to coordinate investments with all levels of government to support recovery and growth in 10 regions across the nation, including Cairns and Tropical North Queensland, to deliver jobs and economic diversification.