A theme of collaboration and a commitment to involve all sporting codes and all key community stakeholders has emerged from today’s inaugural meeting with the newly established Cairns Business & Sporting Group.
“I think it’s about developing a vision for Cairns and our future, diversifying our economy by developing world class sporting facilities not simply for the benefit of Cairns residents but to capitalise on our competitive advantages in tourism, such as hotels, domestic and international connections, as well as our rainforest and reef, so as to create employment and business opportunities through sports tourism,” said group member Simon Wild, Managing Director, Skytrans.
His sentiments were echoed by fellow group member and local developer, Wendy Morris.
“I think what this group is about is embracing a whole range of different organisations throughout the entire community and collaborating and engaging those people and those different groups to create something that’s going to be to the benefit of everybody locally as well as to drive long term economic sustainability for the region,” said group member Wendy Morris of development company Port Bajool.
The Hon. Warren Entsch, Federal Member for Leichhardt announced at the meeting that he would be stepping back from the group as of today and allowing the group to continue without any political influence.
“The individuals on the group well and truly know the task at hand and what is required to develop a comprehensive infrastructure plan for the region. Today I handed over all research “gifted” to the city by the Patron of the group John O’Brien, well known business and sporting identity, as well as various costed proposals from local sporting groups,
“It is important that I step back from the group at this stage to ensure that it is given every opportunity of success and that it is not given a political label. Everyone on the group agrees that an ‘apolitical’ approach is the best approach and this has always been our intention. I like everyone will now be taking direction from the group with Rob Weeden as Chair and I look forward to seeing what they come up with,” said Warren Entsch.
The group agreed to meet again on 14th February 2011 and to work in conjunction with Regional Development Australia (RDA) to submit a draft business plan to be included in the final version of the RDA’s Regional Roadmap for presentation to Simon Crean, Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government.
The group committed to having a comprehensive plan completed by 30th June 2011.
The group members include:
- Rob Weeden (Chair) – General Manager of Shangri La and TTNQ Director
- Ron Tong President of FNQ Swimming
- Simon Wild Managing Director, Skytrans
- Gary Young General Manager, AFL Cairns
- Margot Richardson President Cairns Rugby
- Murray Bain General Manager, Cairns Hockey
- John Moore Director of Northern Pride
- Charles Woodward Managing Director, CaPTA Group
- 9. Wendy Morris Port Bajool
- Nick Trompf – General Manager, The Cairns Post
- Brett Moller – FNQ Regional Policy Chair, Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland
- John O’Brien (Patron) – CEO, Bulls Masters – Cricket Queensland